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Antigenic Strain Characterization

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Antigenic strain characterization for SARS-CoV-2 by a Focus Reduction Neutralization Assay.Antigenic strain characterization for SARS-CoV-2 by a Focus Reduction Neutralization Assay.

Test Category:
Strain Characterization
Illnesses and Diseases:
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • COVID-19

Original specimen or viral isolate, minimum volume 1.0 mL required, if no additional testing requested.

Collection Method:

Original Specimens: Nasopharyngeal swab specimens and Throat Swab specimens.  Viral Isolates: N/A

Specimen Processing, Storage and Shipping:

Keep samples refrigerated or frozen at -80 °C until shipped for testing.  Avoid repeated freeze thaw cycles.  Ship on dry ice.

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 SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Accompanying Documentation:

Completed requisition form (Requisition for the National Enhanced SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance Program).  Sender lab name, address, and telephone number must be included for samples to be processed.  Also include laboratory identifier, patient date of birth, patient gender, type of specimen, and date collected.  If possible, please include patient travel history, extent of SARS-CoV-2 activity, and date of collection relative to antiviral use.


Samples received three months after collection date will not be tested unless prior arrangements have been made with the Section Chief of designate. 

Methods and Interpretation of Results:

Antigenic characterization of viral isolates are determined by a laboratory developed focus reduction neutralization assay.  A standardized quantity of a viral isolate is mixed with a dilution series of a reference sera generated against the current reference strain.  A neutralization titre of the isolate is generated and compared to the neutralization titre of the vaccine strain.  By comparing these two titres, the level of reactivity can be determined and infer a degree of antigenic relatedness to the reference strain. 

Turnaround Time:

30 calendar days

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