Key information

First-time users
If you are using the service for the first time please contact the Quality Manager, Dr Anjna Badhan, to discuss your requirements and answer any questions you may have.
+44 (0)20 7594 3909

Scope of the test

SARS CoV-2 RNA E gene detection and quantification for the diagnosis and monitoring of disease in individual patients infected with SARS CoV-2.

Test details

An in-house method to measure SARS CoV-2 viral load in swabs taken from the upper respiratory tract is used. Primers are specific for SARS CoV-2 E gene. SARS CoV-2 RNA is amplified using reverse transcriptase real-time PCR monitored by detection of the E gene probe. Sample adequacy is confirmed by amplification and detection of human RNaseP in the multiplexed assay. A qualitative report of SARS CoV-2 E gene RNA DETECTED, NOT DETECTED or INADEQUATE sample is routinely provided.

SARS CoV-2 copy number is estimated by interpolation from standard curves and can be expressed as SARS CoV-2 RNA copies per 10uL of extracted RNA. Further information on sample type, processing and extraction is required to attribute a copy number to the clinical sample.

User instructions

Samples from the upper respiratory tract should be obtained as per the directions of the healthcare worker requesting the test. Samples should be transported in accordance with the regulations for a Category B infectious substance unless inactivated are sourced. Swabs are stable at room temperature for 72 hours and, if appropriately packaged, can be posted to the MDU. Swabs can be stored at 2 – 8°C for 1 week prior to posting. For diagnostic samples where Covid-19 disease is suspected, the turn-around-time is one working day from sample receipt. For research samples, turn-around times will be agreed individually. Individual tests can be requested using the linked request form.