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Respiratory Virus PCR Testing

Advances in testing for the diagnosis of acute respiratory tract infections

Test Information
Australian Clinical Labs’ Multiplex PCR respiratory assay detects 15 viral and bacterial respiratory pathogens improving identification of the causative agent and allowing the clinician to instigate appropriate treatment in a timely manner.
The young, the elderly and patients with compromised cardiac, pulmonary or immune systems are at greatest risk of serious disease. Approximately 15% of pneumonias in children are caused by Parainfluenza Virus whilst an additional 20% are due to Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection. RSV is the most commonly identified agent in 75% of children under two years of age who are hospitalised for bronchiolitis.
Early identification is vital to support timely clinical management and minimize progression to more serious illness.

Benefits to the Patient

Assists in the specific and differential diagnosis of acute respiratory tract infections.

  • Increased assay specificity and sensitivity improves the accuracy and speed of diagnosis.
  • Enables the clinician to instigate earlier targeted treatment of viral or bacterial infections avoiding inappropriate antibiotic therapy.


Tests available

  1. Influenza A & B
  2. RSV(A&B)
  3. Parainfluenza 1, 2, 3 & 4
  4. Influenza A H1N1 2009 (Swine)
  5. Influenza A H5N1 (Avian)
  6. Human Metapneumovirus
  7. Human Adenovirus
  8. Human Rhinovirus
  9. Bordetella pertussis
  10. Chlamydophila pneumoniae
  11. Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Two respiratory PCR assays are run concurrently to provide both routine screening of Influenza / RSV requests and an extended panel covering 15 respiratory viruses / bacteria from the list above.


Sensitivity of testing



Samples required

  • Nose/throat or nasopharyngeal swab(s) or
  • Nasopharyngeal/tracheal aspirates or
  • Sputum


Test frequency

Flu Season:

Both our Flu A/B and RSV screening assay and our extended respiratory multiplex PCR assays are performed daily Monday to Friday.

If simple Influenza or RSV infection is suspected order tests (a) and (b) from the test menu.

If investigation for the full panel of respiratory infective agents is required order Respiratory PCR or ‘RV PCR’.


Swine and avian influenza

Our Respiratory Virus PCR assay will detect both the H1N1 and the H5N1 strains of Influenza A (Swine and Avian respectively).



Medicare Bulk Billing Available*


For more information:

If you have any questions or would like to know the location of your nearest Australian Clinical Laboratories Collection Centre, please call 1300 453 688.

Visit for an easy search by postcode to find your nearest collection centre.



*Bulk billing subject to Medicare guidelines & criteria.