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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Immunoassay

CPT: 87807
Updated on 12/10/2019
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Special Instructions

Submit one specimen per test requested. Specify the exact specimen source/origin (eg, nasopharyngeal aspirate). Indicate a specific test number on the test request form.

Expected Turnaround Time

1 - 3 days

Related Documents

Specimen Requirements


Nasopharyngeal (NP) washes or aspirates (preferred), NP swabs; refrigerated or frozen


2 to 3 mL washes or 0.5 to 1 mL aspirates


Viral, Chlamydia, or Mycoplasma culture transport provided by LabCorp, or other appropriate transport medium; sterile leakproof container for washes or aspirates


Nasopharyngeal wash or aspirate using routine collection and transport procedure. Nasal swabs are not considered as sensitive for RSV detection. Avoid using collection containers with preservatives or transport that may contain interfering substances. Do not use calcium alginate swabs. Obtain sample during acute phase of illness when greatest amount of viral shedding occurs. To avoid delays in turnaround time when requesting multiple tests on frozen samples, please submit separate frozen specimens for each test requested.

Storage Instructions

Refrigerate for 72 hours or freeze if held longer.

Causes for Rejection

Bacterial swab specimen; specimen received in grossly leaking transport container; dry specimen; specimen submitted in fixative or additives; specimen excessively bloody; specimen received in expired transport media or incorrect transport device; inappropriate specimen transport conditions; specimen received after prolonged delay in transport (usually more than 72 hours); wooden shaft swab or calcium alginate swab in transport device; unlabeled specimen or name discrepancy between specimen and request label

Test Details


Evaluate lower respiratory tract infections in young children. Severe life-threatening infections due to respiratory syncytial virus can occur during the first few years. Acquired immunity is incomplete and reinfection can occur later.


A positive result may occur in the absence of viable virus. In the event of a negative result, infection due to RSV cannot be ruled out because the antigen present may be below the detection limit of the test. A negative test is presumptive, and it is recommended by the assay manufacturer that these results be confirmed by another method. Freezing of the sample may also diminish detection of the antigen.


Immunoassay (IA)

Reference Interval


Additional Information

This test allows rapid diagnosis of the presence of respiratory syncytial virus. It avoids the necessity of obtaining acute and convalescent specimens over a two-week period. It may be particularly useful in children younger than six months old, whose antibody response to infection may not be diagnostic.


Chonmaitree T, Bessette-Henderson BJ, Hepler RE, Lucia HL. Comparison of three rapid diagnostic techniques for detection of respiratory syncytial virus from nasal wash specimens. J Clin Microbiol. 1987 Apr; 25(4):746-747. 3553236
Kim HW, Wyatt RG, Fernie BF, et al. Respiratory syncytial virus detection by immunofluorescence in nasal secretions with monoclonal antibodies against selected surface and internal proteins. J Clin Microbiol. 1983 Dec; 18(6):1399-1404. 6361054
Kumar ML, Super DM, Lembo RM, Thomas FC, Prokay SL. Diagnostic efficacy of two rapid tests for detection of respiratory syncytial virus antigen. J Clin Microbiol. 1987 May; 25(5):873-875. 3294889
Lauer BA, Masters HA, Wren CG, Levin MJ. Rapid detection of respiratory syncytial virus in nasopharyngeal secretions by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. J Clin Microbiol. 1985 Nov; 22(5):782-785. 3902879
Swenson PD, Kaplan MH. Rapid detection of respiratory syncytial virus in nasopharyngeal aspirates by a commercial enzyme immunoassay. J Clin Microbiol. 1986 Mar; 23(3):485-488. 3514658


Order Code Order Code Name Order Loinc Result Code Result Code Name UofM Result LOINC
014548 RSV Ag, EIA 68966-1 014548 RSV Ag, EIA 68966-1

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