SARS-CoV-2 RNA Detection CPT: 87635

Expected Turnaround Time

Within 24-72 hours

Specimen Requirements


Nasopharyngeal, nasal, or mid-turbinate swab



Minimum Volume



Universal transport media, viral transport media, or equivalent (eg, Citoswab® UTM-RT, BD VTM, MicroTest M4, M4-RT, M5) A synthetic sterile swab with a plastic shaft must be used for collection


1. Collect specimen by swabbing back and forth over nasal or pharyngeal mucosa surface to maximize recovery of cells.

2. NP and OP swab specimens may be combined at collection into a single vial of transport media but only one swab is required for analysis.

3. Swab must be placed into transport medium. Swab shaft should be broken or cut so that there is no obstruction to the sample or pressure on the media container cap.

4. Do not send in glass tubes, vacutainer tubes, or tubes with push caps.

5. Do not overfill with more than 3 mL total volume of media.

Storage Instructions

Maintain specimen at room temperature.

Stability Requirements

Temperature Period
Room TemperatureNot recommended
Refrigerated7 days
Frozen7 days
Freeze/thaw/ cycles NA

Patient Information

Molecular (RT-PCR) or antigen test: To diagnose a SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19).

Molecular or antigen test: When you have symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or have been exposed to someone with the virus

Molecular or antigen test: To diagnose current infections, a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, a nasal swab and/or a throat swab is collected; sometimes a saliva sample may be collected.