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Molecular Virology


Virology Main Page

The Molecular Virology section performs a variety of moderate to complex analytical methods, for diagnostic and surveillance testing for the detection of specific public health viruses and bacteria. All testing reported to submitters is compliant under federal regulations. Testing includes pathogen identification by real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) for pathogen nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), antibody testing (IgM serology) for arboviruses, ricin toxin detection, rabies direct fluorescent antibody testing, and anti-viral resistance sequencing for influenza. Clinical diagnostic specimens are submitted from hospitals, Community Health Centers, State Service Centers, schools and correctional facilities.

Molecular Virology testing technology enables rapid turnaround for high urgency organisms. High urgency testing can range from biothreat agents to outbreaks to rabies. The Molecular Virology Laboratory oversees the PCR testing for CDC's "Laboratory Response Network", the United States program for preparedness testing and emerging infectious diseases. As such, the Delaware Public Health Laboratory is the only laboratory in the state that can test for Ebola virus. Testing for Ebola or potential biothreat agents runs round-the-clock for those that meet the case definition. Additionally, with the resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases, the Molecular Virology Lab has experienced rapid testing in response to large outbreaks of Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough), measles and mumps viruses.

The Molecular Virology section continues to expand testing capabilities to perform complex laboratory testing for the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, influenza and other respiratory viruses. Details on these capabilities can be referred below. Other capabilities include the real-time PCR detection of West Nile virus, rabies detection by DFA and real-time PCR detection, and acquisition of numerous nucleic acid extraction platforms and more real-time PCR instruments.  Several of the newer extraction platforms can purify up to 96 samples in about one hour.


For additional information refer to the following links:

Influenza Viral Testing

Specimen Collection Procedures


Biological and Chemical Preparedness

Rabies Virus


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This page was last updated 4/24

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