The Molecular Virology section performs a variety of moderate to complex analytical methods, for diagnostic and surveillance of viruses and molecular detection of some bacteria. All testing reported to submitters is CLIA compliant under federal regulations. Testing includes pathogen identification by real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for DNA and RNA, IgM serology for arboviruses, ricin toxin detection, rabies direct fluorescent antibody testing, and anti-viral resistance sequencing for influenza. Clinical diagnostic specimens are submitted from hospitals, Community Health Centers, State Service Centers, schools and correctional facilities.
The Molecular Virology Laboratory also oversees the PCR testing for CDC's "Laboratory Response Network, " the United States program for preparedness testing and emerging infectious diseases. As such, The Delaware Public Health Laboratory is the only laboratory in the state that can test for Ebola virus and Novel Coronavirus (formerly known as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome). Testing for Ebola or potential agents of bioterrorism runs round-the-clock for those that meet the case definition. With the resurgence of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, the Molecular Virology lab has experienced large outbreaks of Bordetella pertussis (Whooping Cough) and Mumps viruses over the past year. Emergency rabies testing for exposure is also performed at times.
The Molecular Virology section continues to enhance the capabilities to perform complex laboratory testing. This includes the real-time PCR detection of molecular mechanisms for antibiotic resistance, implementation of rabies detection by real-time PCR detection, and acquisition of nucleic acid extraction platforms that can purify up to 96 samples in less than one hour.
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