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Coronavirus - COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Testing

EMSL TESTING FOR SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) by qPCR  (Detects the Delta variant)

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is now accepting environmental Air, Swab, and Wastewater samples to confirm the presence/absence of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus, utilizing quantitative RT-PCR technology. 

Clinical/ human-derived samples are not accepted.

Air Samples
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets. When someone with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or speaks, these droplets are released and infectious droplets can be inhaled or they can land in the noses or mouths of those nearby. The CDC also states that respiratory droplets can land on hands, surfaces, and objects around the person when they speak or cough. EMSL's test results include both the 2019-nCoV_N1 and N2 markers of the virus. This is a qualitative presence/absence test.

Environmental Swab Samples
Recent studies suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may remain viable and infective on surfaces for hours to days, depending on the surface’s material type (fabric, tile, steel, etc.). Thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces are recommended by the CDC and believed to be essential in preventing the spread of infection. The presence or absence of the viral genetic material on environmental surfaces can now be directly tested with EMSL’s new SARS-CoV-2 molecular-based test and used to demonstrate effectiveness of cleaning protocols. EMSL's test results include both the 2019-nCoV_N1 and N2 markers of the virus. This is a qualitative presence/absence test.

Wastewater Samples
Recent Wastewater studies indicate that testing untreated wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 is an important epidemiological tool. EMSL offers SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test for wastewater samples and designed to detect both the 2019-nCoV_N1 and 2019-nCoV_N2 markers of the virus. The Wastewater SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test protocol has been validated by EMSL, and features comprehensive quality control procedures to ensure consistent results. This is a quantitative test.

EMSL RT-qPCR test is active against Delta coronavirus variant

According to CDC genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been emerging and circulating around the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant emerged in India and is currently widespread. The level of public safety and awareness has been elevated since Delta variant is potentially more transmissible than other coronavirus variants.

The RT-qPCR test employed for environmental SARS-CoV-2 surveillance by EMSL detects all know variants of SARS-CoV-2 including Delta. Mutations in Delta variant affect one of the coronavirus structural proteins called spike protein whereas EMSL SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR test targets a different part of viral genome: conserved RNA sequence of gene coding for nucleocapsid protein.

While current immunization efforts might reduce the risk of individual infections the disease transmission routes remain the same. Testing for the environmental component of SARS-CoV-2 contagion is still important since immunized individuals can unknowingly carry and spread viral pathogens.

Sample Analysis
EMSL employs a RT-qPCR test that targets the SARS-CoV-2-nucleocapsid N gene. This method is specified by the CDC and authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical COVID-19 diagnostics. Since the human RNAse P gene is not analyzed in our test, the EMSL RT-qPCR test can only be used for environmental testing on surfaces; not for processing patient SARS-CoV-2 specimens.

In addition, since environmental samples frequently contain RT-qPCR inhibiting substances found in dirt, soil, and dust that can affect the qPCR reaction performance, EMSL applies a proprietary nucleic acid (NA) extraction method to every sample. This will ensure the removal of any RT-qPCR inhibitors, as well as ensure the accurate detection of the target viral RNA.

Analytical Fees and Sampling Media

AIR & SWAB Samples
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Virus by RT-qPCR -
Presence / Absence

(EMSL Test Code: M330)


Turnaround Time (TAT)
Results reported end of business day.

Price (USD)


Same Day



1 Day



2 Days



3 Days



4 Days



5 Days



Surface Swab & Air Cassette



Wastwater Samples
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Quantitative Testing
(EMSL Test Code: M330)


Turnaround Time (TAT)
Results reported end of business day.

Price (USD)


Same Day


1 Day



2 Days



3 Days



4 Days



5 Days



Sampling Bottle



EMSL's Corporate Headquarters in Cinnaminson, NJ is the only location accepting environmental samples for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) by RT-qPCR.   

Air Sampling Equipment:

EMSL PCR Air Sampling Pump Kit – High Volume Rotary Vane Pump, Stand, and 3-30 LPM Rotameter

  • Rent: $35 each (USD) per day – Item number 87RD037
  • Purchase: $325 each (USD) – Item number 8706107s
    • Luer Adapter 12 Pack (USD) – Item number 8704300K (required)

Zefon Vira-Pore Cassette for PCR Analysis 
**Flow-Rate:  10 liters per minute for at least 100 liters of air

  • $12 each (USD) – Item number 8715251
  • $110 each (USD) - Item number 8715250

Sterile, 0.4µm, 37mm, 3 Piece, Polycarbonate PCR Air Filter
**Flow-Rate:  10-13 liters per minute for at least 1,000 liters of air

  • $5 each (USD) – Item number 8715309

Environmental Surface Swabs:

Sterile Surface Swabs

  • $5 each (USD) – Item number 8708935

Wastwater Sampling Bottle

Sterile 120ml Bottle (Only 100mL required for Sampling)

  • $1 each (USD) – Item number 8714235

Alternate sample collection media may also be accepted for SARS-CoV-2 analysis utilizing established protocols. As additional laboratory preparations may be required, please contact EMSL before submitting alternate sampling media for analysis.

Sample Submission

Samples must be submitted following EMSL's Sampling Instructions:

Air Sampling Instructions
***Current research suggests there have been several methods utilized to collect air samples for SARS-CoV-2 virus analysis. Click Here to view a few published studies that highlight the wide variety of sampling techniques, sampling media, and flow rates that have been be utilized for sample collection. 

          Swab Sampling Instructions

           Wastewater Sampling Instructions

EMSL's Chain of Custody for RT-qPCR swab analysis of SARS-CoV-2 must be utilized.

qPCR by SARS-CoV-2 Chain of Custody Form - Click Here

Test Result Interpretation

EMSL's SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) results are reported in either 'Detected' or 'Non-Detected' for two indicators of the SARS-CoV-2, per sample, as directed by the CDC. Indicator one is 2019-nCoV_N1 and indicator two is 2019-nCoV_N2. Both indicators detect the nucleocapsid protein 'N' gene of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

A result of 'Detected' for either indicator can be interpreted with confidence that the area sampled did contain SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus particles that could be deemed as potentially infectious.

Click Here to View Air Sample Report

Click Here to View Swab Sample Report

Click Here to View Wastewater Sample Report

Additional Testing Services

EMSL also offers Cleaning Efficacy Testing ServicesClick here for more information.

The results of these tests would demonstrate that the sampled surface area has been effectively cleaned and free of bacteria or fungi. If a virucide was included in the surface cleaning protocol, then this swab test indicates the surface was properly treated.

Contact Us Today

Contact your EMSL Account Representative today, or email You can also call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-220-3675. 

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