Test Directory

Varicella Zoster Virus PCR

Containers - Adult

Red Cap Tube EDTA KE 2.7ml
Volume Range

2.7 ml

Swab in Remel Microtest Viral Transport Medium (VTM)
Volume Range

Swab from affected site

Containers - Child

Pink Cap - Paediatric
Volume Range

1-2ml blood​

Swab in Remel Microtest Viral Transport Medium (VTM)
Volume Range

​Swab from affected site

Reference ranges

Cycle Threshold (CT)

Laboratory Site

51 Little France Crescent
Old Dalkeith Road
EH16 4SA
Telephone: 0131 536 1000

Transport arrangements

Inter-site van shuttle service, GP van service, External hospital van service, Couriers, Hospital porter collection (refer to collection times posted in wards / departments), Hospital Pneumatic Tube System (PTS)

Sample storage arrangements

Specimen transport arrangements must be in accordance with current postal and transport regulations. Samples should be transported to the laboratory without delay. If processing is delayed, refrigeration at 2-8 oC is preferable to storage at room temperature for all samples, with the exception of EDTA blood samples. EDTA blood samples must be stored at room temperature (19-23 oC). Patient samples can be transported at ambient temperature.

Special instructions for collection

​Clinical samples must be collected into leak-proof containers and placed into a sealed bag with absorbent material. Patient samples must be individually packaged and not mixed with other patient samples. Any appropriate hazard labelling should be clearly visible on the sample bag / sample.

How to request

Use appropriate TRAK or ICE barcode labels which include Patient Identifier Number (CHI), Forename, Surname, Date of Birth, Gender and Location of patient (hospital and ward or primary care centre). Use Virology Request Form only if TRAK or ICE ordering system is unavailable.


Weekdays 08.30 - 17.00

Weekends 9.00 - 16.00

Anticipated turnaround

2 days

What happens if the result is positive or abnormal

Positive results are notified to the Duty Virologist and are available in the patient’s records.

Static information/disclaimer

​False negative results may occur for a variety of reasons including: inappropriate timing of sample collection, inappropriate sample type, inappropriate sample storage and presence of virus below the detectable limit of the assay. New and emerging variants may also occur which may not be detected by specific assays. Towards the limit of detection of an assay sampling variation will result in lower reproducibility. Haemolysed or lipaemic samples can also cause interference with assay results.

General additional information

Please contact virologyadvice@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk for all non-urgent clinical enquiries.