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Respiratory Viral PCR


Please note we do not offer a private Covid-19 testing service.


Nucleic acid amplification assay (PCR) tests for the detection of the following:

  • SARS-CoV-2 (Covid)
  • Influenza A (Flu)
  • Influenza B (Seasonal Flu)
  • Respiratory Syncitial Virus (RSV).


Diagnosis of viral respiratory infection.

For POCT testing – click here


Nasopharyngeal swab

  • Test sensitivity is dictated by the amount of virus on the swab and is therefore influenced by:
    • (1) the timing of the test in relation to the symptoms and
    • (2) the quality of the sample (operator-dependent).
    • A result should be interpreted in light of the pre-test probability (severity of symptoms, their level of exposure, the disease in the contact); no test is 100% sensitive or specific.

Specimen container

Yellow topped Cobas swab (preferred)

Red/green topped viral swab

To Request On EPIC

For electronic requesting using EPIC (RDUH ONLY):

Search for: ‘Respiratory Viral PCR Panel‘ or test code ‘LAB9702

Special Instructions

  • For hospital patients:
    • Follow Trust guidelines as on the HUB
    • All samples need to be requested on EPIC
    • If highly suspicious of infection but initial swabs are negative, repeat swab and request an extended panel to look for other causes.
      • Only tested after agreement with a Consultant Microbiologist
  • For community/GP/Primary Care patients:
    • Flu/SARS-CoV-2/RSV testing NOT currently required in community cases
      • Samples received will NOT be processed
      • Please contact the laboratory to discuss with a Consultant Microbiologist prior to sending a sample if a Clinical need for testing is felt
  • Patient clinical details – please include symptoms, details of foreign travel and any immunocompromise.


Processed locally in Microbiology at RDUH

Turnaround time

Urgent – within 2 hours of sample receipt (During routine opening hours)

Non-urgent – within 24 hours


Cepheid GeneXpert

Useful Links

For Patients:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing – Lab Tests Online

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – NHS

Influenza (Flu) Tests – Lab Tests Online

Flu – NHS

RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) – Lab Tests Online

Specimen Labelling Procedure
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