Hepatitis B – DNA RT-PCR

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit



2.5 ml

Blood, clotted - vacutainer tubes (SST)



2.5 ml

EDTA (lavender top)


Haemolysed, icteric, lipemic or microbially contaminated sera or plasma are not recommended for testing.

Whole blood submitted must be received at your local PHO Public Health laboratory within 6 hours of collection of the blood.

Preparation Prior to Transport

Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Serum or EDTA plasma must be removed from the clot within 6 hours of collection. Place specimen in a biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored frozen and shipped to PHL on ice packs or dry ice.

Upon separation plasma/serum may be stored in secondary tubes for up to 6 days at 2°C to 8°C or up to 12 weeks at < -18°C.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Hepatitis B testing is performed daily Monday to Friday.

Turnaround time is up to 8 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Test Methods

Hepatitis B specimens for HBV-DNA are tested by the Roche Cobas 6800 assay system utilizing Real Time - PCR  (RT-PCR) technology.

Viral load will be provided if sample tested has HBV DNA ≥ 10 IU/ml.

Additional Information

Hepatitis B information can also be found in the document titled:LAB-SD-031, Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA testing and interpretation - update.

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Updated 20 July 2020