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PCR Testing for Seasonal & H1N1 Flu for Physicians

The Detroit Medical Center University Laboratories (DMCUL) will be offering PCR testing for seasonal and H1N1 influenza as an adjunct test to the Quidel QuickVue Rapid Influenza A/B Assay.  This PCR assay includes a target for detection of all subtypes of Influenza A as well as second target for specific identification of H1N1 influenza.  Sensitivity and specificity data for this assay are not available due to the “emergency use authorization” given by the FDA for PCR testing of H1N1 influenza. 

Use of the RT-PCR assay for H1N1 influenza should be limited to specimens that are acceptable for and have already been tested by a rapid influenza assay. 


  • Both rapid and PCR testing for influenza can be conducted on a single appropriate specimen, provided ≥1 ml of specimen is available for testing. 
  • Rapid specimens are held for 7 days after receipt


The following are appropriate specimens:


  • Nasal or Nasopharyngeal Swab
    • Swab specimens should be collected only on swabs with a synthetic tip and an aluminum or plastic shaft. Swabs made of calcium alginate, swabs with cotton tips and swabs with wooden shafts are not acceptable. 
    • Swab specimens must be transported only in DMCUL provided and validated viral transport medium (e.g. Meridian Viral Transport Medium)
  • Nasal Aspirate
  • Nasal Wash


To order, send an appropriate sample to the DMCUL and order test Influenza A/H1NI PCR (328633). If the laboratory has received a swab already for the Rapid Flu A/B Assay, and it was tested within the past 7 days, you may call our Client Services Department at 800-456-2154 to add on the test.

PCR test results will be available by 5 PM Monday through Friday, provided specimens arrive prior to noon on the day of testing.  New positive influenza A results and positive novel influenza A results will be called to the physician. 

Clinicians can contact the following sources for influenza information:




Test Name: Influenza A/H1N1 PCR
Test Code: 328633

Technical inquiries:
DMCUL Virology Laboratory
From 7:00 am – 3:00 pm, (313) 993-0710

DMCUL Microbiology Laboratory
After 3:00 pm, (313) 993-0700


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