Lab Test

SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza AB by NAA, Routine

Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, COVID, SARS, Flu A, Flu B

Test Codes



Molecular Pathology

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: Nasopharyngeal (NP) Swab:

Place in viral transport medium (UVT, UTM).

During collection, please remember to leave the NP swab in the patient's nasopharynx for 30 seconds and to gently rotate the swab to obtain an adequate specimen. For more information, please refer to the Specimen Collection Manual for NP Swab Collection.

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): Transport to laboratory immediately.

Maintain all specimens refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F) prior to transport.

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Nasopharyngeal swab in viral transport medium, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F).

Rejection Criteria

  • Dry swabs.
  • Samples collected in bacterial transport media such as ESwab.
  • Cotton/calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts.
  • Contaminated media (e.g. yellow in color or contain black particles).

In-Lab Processing

Maintain specimens refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F) until testing.

Specimens are only stable for eight (8) hours at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F).


Specimen Stability for Testing: 

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 8 hours 
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 72 hours 
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 7 days 

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal: 

Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days.


Royal Oak Molecular Pathology Laboratory


Sunday – Saturday.
Results available within 24-48 hours.

Reference Range

Not Detected: No SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, or influenza B detected.

Test Methodology

Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAA) / Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and Influenza A/B test is for in vitro diagnostic use under the FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for US laboratories certified under CLIA to perform high complexity testing.


By report.

Clinical Utility

Symptoms of a respiratory virus infections may include fever, cough, sore throat, and malaise, which is also seen in patients with COVID-19. Due to the differences in patient treatment and management, it is necessary to differentiate COVID-19 from other common respiratory infections. This assay detects and differentiates SARS-CoV-2 (CoVID-19), influenza A, and influenza B. This assay detects specific regions of the pathogen's genomic RNA.

Clinical Disease

Symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 (CoVID-19) infection are similar to those of other respiratory viruses that occur seasonally in the fall/winter and include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Pneumonia
  • Shortness of breath



    Respiratory viruses typically follow a seasonal pattern with an increase of infections beginning in the fall and winter. Most cases of influenza occur in the winter and early spring (January through April) with peak incidence in January and February. SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of a worldwide pandemic that has resulted in tens of millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths since its emergence in December 2019. As an emerging pathogen, the seasonal pattern of SARS-CoV-2 is currently unknown.

    Incubation Period

    SARS-CoV-2: According to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), the incubation period for SARS-CoV-2 ranges from 2 – 14 days with a median incubation period of 5 days. Patients are infectious 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms and up to 10 days thereafter. Immunocompromised and critically ill patients may shed infectious virus for longer periods of time.

    Influenza: The incubation period is 18-70 hours. Patients are infectious one day before the onset of symptoms and for 3-4 days thereafter. Infants and immunocompromised patients may shed infectious virus for longer periods of time.


    These viruses are very contagious and are transmitted through inhalation of virus-laden aerosols or by autoinoculation after handling fomites contaminated with nasal or throat secretions.

    CPT Codes



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