Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content






​For the detection of the novel coronavirus, now known as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in patients with severe respiratory infection and travel to or residence in a country where the novel coronavirus has been detected.

Specimen Required

​a) Throat / nasopharyngeal swabs : Use only Dacron / rayon-tipped dry swabs with plastic shafts or flocked swabs. Send dry in the swab sheath or in a dry sterile screw-capped container. Laryngeal swabs will be rejected. 

b) Sputum

c) In addition, the following specimens from invasive procedures can be taken:
- bronchoalveolar lavage
- endotracheal tube aspirate

These specimens are to be sent in screw-capped sterile containers without adding viral transport media.

Storage and Transport

​Refrigerate sample until transfer to laboratory. Do not freeze. Send sample at 2 - 8°C (with an ice-pack). Sample must reach laboratory within 24 hours after collection.
- Tighten collection containers properly to prevent leakage of specimen
- Laboratory forms and specimens must be completely labelled with patient's name, identification number, date of collection and type of specimen.
- Specimens should be transported in a secondary non-breakable carrier with a tight lid.

For urgent cases, please contact the laboratory (tel. 63266920) and write the doctor's name and contact number on the request form. Urgent specimens must be hand-delivered to the Academia, Diagnostics Tower, Client and Specimen Management at Level 8.

Normal working opening hours:
Monday - Friday : 8.00 am - 5.10 pm
Saturday             : 8.00 am - 1.00 pm


​Reverse-transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (In-house Real-time)

Test Results

​Detected, Not Detected or Inconclusive

Reference Interval / Value

Turnaround Time

Urgent SGH inpatient cases only: 6 hours (requires approval of microbiologist)
Routine cases: Next working day

Patient samples for urgent/stat testing must be from patients who meet MOH criteria of a suspect case.

These must be ordered by an infectious diseases physician and discussed with a Molecular Laboratory microbiologist.

Day(s) Test Set up

​Mondays to Saturdays


​In addition to standard precautions, strict barrier precautions are required in the collection of respiratory samples from patients suspected to be infected with novel coronavirus. This includes the use of personal protective equipment like gloves, gowns and apron, safety eyewear and powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) or N95 masks.

Change History Notes



What's New

Sort by :