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Molecular Detection by RT-PCR

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Accredited by the Standards Council of Canada to Laboratory no. 594 (ISO/IEC 17025)

Requisition Forms

Reference Details


Molecular Detection by RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2.

Test Category:
Molecular Detection
Illnesses and Diseases:
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • COVID-19

Nasopharyngeal swab.  Volume required: 1-2 mL.

Collection Method:

Use sterile swabs and swab the nasal cavity.  Place swabs in 2-3 mL viral transport medium or 0.9% saline.

Specimen Processing, Storage and Shipping:

Keep samples refrigerated until shipped for testing.  Ship on dry ice.  Samples stored in saline must be frozen immediately after collection and kept frozen during shipment.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods:

Shipping of specimens shall be done by a TDG certified individual in accordance with TDG regulations. For additional information regarding classification of specimens for the purposes of shipping, consult either Part 2 Appendix 3 of the TDG Regulations or section 3.6.2 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations as applicable.

Patient Criteria:

Suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.

Accompanying Documentation:

Completed requisition (current Molecular Diagnostic for Respiratory Viruses requisition form, or Molecular Detection of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) – Batch Submission requisition form). The sender's lab name, address, and telephone number must be included for samples to be processed.  Also include identifier (sender lab number), patient date of birth, patient gender, type of specimen, date collected, and travel history. 



Please provide advance notification of incoming specimens, including tracking # and shipment details (where the shipment is from, courier, # of samples, and # presumptive positive), by emailing the Influenza and Respiratory Viruses (PHAC) account ( ) or calling 1-204-789-6049.  Refer to 2019-n-CoV After Hours Shipping Guide when sample delivery is expected outside of business hours.

Methods and Interpretation of Results:

RNA is extracted from submitted respiratory specimens.  Reverse Transcriptase (RT) PCR with virus-specific primers is performed on the extracted RNA to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2 using real-time detection. 

Turnaround Time:

72 hours.

Phone #: (204) 789-6047
Fax: (204) 789-2082