Coronavirus (COVID-19) molecular testing


Alternative names, keywords


Samples required

Nose and throat swab sample.

For general information on COVID-19 including taking swabs for testing, please go to the BSUH intranet page.

The instructions for taking swabs and bloods to the lab can be downloaded here.

Test indications

Qualitative detection of SARS-COV 2.

Test information

  • Routine Molecular RT-PCR test

Samples that arrive in the laboratory by 1pm, will be tested same day.

Examples of viral swab types below- please note there are many different types available.

  • Rapid Molecular test

Arranged though ED departments (RSCH and PRH).

Results available within 2 hours of sampling.

The VitaPCR test is a rapid “point of care” test for COVID and although it is much quicker than the routine COVID PCR test, the sensitivity is not as high. This means that a negative result does not preclude Sars-CoV2 infection and should not be used as a sole basis for patient management decisions. Test results should be considered alongside the patients’ medical history, clinical signs and symptoms. Where possible the routine COVID PCR test should be the test of choice, but it is understood that the speed of the rapid VitaPCR has huge clinical impact when deciding on patient flow.

Reference range


Turnaround time

See above.

When results are available they will be visible on ICE.


Microbiology (Virology and Serology)