Clinical Virology Laboratory -
Laboratory diagnosis of viral infections requires an understanding of the pathogenesis of the suspected agent, stage of infection, as well as age and immunocompetence of the infected individual. It is important to select the appropriate specimens, collect the specimen carefully to optimize recovery of the infectious agent, and transport the specimens as directed so as to maintain viability and minimize overgrowth with contaminating organisms.
Collection and Transportation of Specimens for Virus Culture
Selection of SpecimensThe specimen should be collected from the target organ most closely associated with clinical symptoms to identify the etiologic agent responsible for the patient's disease.
Viral transport medium (VTM) prevents specimen drying, maintains viral viability and retards the growth of microbial contaminants. VTM contains gelatin and antimicrobial agents in a buffered salt solution. The UPMC clinical virology lab requires specimens for virus culture be collected in the VTM ‘M4’. Tubes containing 2-3 mL VTM are used for swab specimens, while those with 5-7 mL VTM are suitable for tissue samples.
- Sterile, leakproof, screw-cap containers including urine cups, disposable centrifuge tubes (15 and 50 mL), and smaller tubes (e.g., 4-mL Nunc vials, 13x100 tubes), suitable for holding 1-2 mL of VTM.
- Sterile cotton-, Dacron-, or rayon-tipped swabs with plastic or aluminum shafts small-tip flexible (fine-shafted aluminum) swabs are used for certain samples such as urethral swabs. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or wooden-shafted swabs.
- Tuberculin syringe with 26- or 27-gauge needle for aspirating vesicular fluid
- Blood collection tubes containing anticoagulant (ACD)
- Specimen Collection Guide for Virus Culture
- Appropriate Specimens for Virus Culture
- Collection and Transportation of Specimens for Virus Culture
- Specimen Collection Guidelines
- Specimen Transportation Guidelines
- Guidelines for Specimens Sent from Outside UPMC
- Guidelines for the Choice and Handling of Specimens
- Specimen Collection Guide for Viral Antigen Detection Tests
- Specimen Collection Guidelines for CNAT (CMV) PCR Test
- Packaging / Shipping Instructions for CNAT (CMV) PCR Test
- Specimen Collection Guidelines - Molecular Virology and Chlamydia Tests (PCR, Real-Time PCR)
- Specimen Collection Guidelines FOR RVPNAT