Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) Real-Time Quantitative PCR

Test Code

CPT Codes

Preferred Specimen

1 mL whole blood collected in an EDTA (lavender-top) tube, or 1 mL CSF, or Bronchial brush/wash submitted in a sterile leak-proof container, or 1 mL swab submitted in VCM or M4 Transport Medium

Minimum Volume
0.3 mL

Other Acceptable Specimens

1 mL whole blood collected in: ACD-B (yellow-top) tube, or EDTA (dark blue-top) tube • Throat swab submitted in VCM or M4 Transport Medium • 1 mL eye fluid submitted in sterile leak-proof container


Whole blood must be shipped refrigerated (cold packs). Frozen whole blood is not acceptable for this assay.

Swabs in M4 or VCM, sterile or dry, are acceptable refrigerated for 7 days or frozen for 30 days.

Swabs (dry, in M4 or VCM Medium) are acceptable to include eye swab, nasopharyngeal swab, throat swab, and lesion (vesicle) aspirate/swab).

Transport Container
Sterile screw-cap container

Transport Temperature
Refrigerated (cold packs)

Specimen Stability

Room temperature: 48 hours

Refrigerated: 7 days

Frozen: 30 days (do not freeze whole blood)


Refrigerated: 7 days

Frozen: 30 days

Reject Criteria (Eg, hemolysis? Lipemia? Thaw/Other?)
Frozen whole blood

Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)

This test was developed and its performance characteristics have been determined by Quest Diagnostics. Performance characteristics refer to the analytical performance of the test.
This test is performed pursuant to a license agreement with Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.

Reference Range
<500 copies/mL

Clinical Significance
Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) is a member of the Herpesviridae family that causes chickenpox as a primary infection and can reactivate later in life as herpes zoster or shingles. VZV infection in immunocompromised individuals often leads to a progressive disease state involving multiple organs. The detection of Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) DNA is based upon the real-time amplification and detection of specific VZV genomic DNA sequences by PCR from total DNA extracted from the specimen. The quantitative range of this assay is 500-2,000,000 copies/mL.

Performing Laboratory
Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute
14225 Newbrook Drive
Chantilly, VA 20153

The CPT Codes provided in this document are based on AMA guidelines and are for informational purposes only. CPT coding is the sole responsibility of the billing party. Please direct any questions regarding coding to the payor being billed. Any Profile/panel component may be ordered separately. Reflex tests are performed at an additional charge.