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 V-C-M or M4 Transport Medium

Minimum Volume
0.3 mL

Other Acceptable Specimens
Whole blood collected in: ACD-B (yellow-top), or EDTA (royal blue-top) tube • Throat swab submitted in 1 mL V-C-M or M4 Transport Medium • 1 mL eye fluid submitted in sterile leak-proof container

Frozen whole blood is not acceptable for this assay.
Swabs (dry, in M4 or VCM Medium) are acceptable to include eye swab, nasopharyngeal swab, throat swab, and lesion (vesicle) aspirate/swab).

Transport Temperature
Refrigerated (cold packs)

Specimen Stability
Whole blood
Room temperature: 48 hours
Refrigerated: 7 days
Frozen: Unacceptable
Other fluid and swab
Room temperature: 48 hours
Refrigerated: 7 days
Frozen: 30 days
Eye fluid
Room temperature: 48 hours
Refrigerated: 8 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 analytical performance characteristics have been determined by Quest Diagnostics. It has not been cleared or approved by the FDA. This assay has been validated pursuant to the CLIA regulations and is used for clinical purposes.

Setup Schedule
Set up: Daily a.m.; Report available: Next day

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.