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

SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) by qPCR

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is now accepting environmental Air and Swab samples to confirm the presence/absence of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus in air and on surfaces 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. 

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.

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

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



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 706107

Sterile, 0.4µm, 37mm, 3 Piece, Polycarbonate PCR Air Filter

  • $5 each (USD) – Item number 8715309

Environmental Surface Swabs:

Sterile Surface Swabs

  • $5 each (USD) – Item number 8708935

Alternate sample collection media may also be accepted for SARS-CoV-2 analysis utilizing established protocols for air and swab samples. 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

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

qPCR Swab 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

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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