× Test Guide Collection Guides Guidelines News Contact Useful Links

Laboratory Test Reference Guide

Laboratory Information

Test Name

Hepatitis C viral load

Specimen Collection

Pre Testing Requirements

Requires dedicated blood tubes (no other tests requested).

Specimen Collection and Transport Protocols

Store whole blood at 2-25 degrees for no longer than 24 hours.

Adult Specimen

EDTA plasma (preferred) or serum.

Instructions for Referral to Waikato Lab

Aliquot Instructions

Spin sample down and 3/4 fill screw top nunc tubes with plasma and freeze within 24 hours of receipt. Use multiple nunc tubes as required. Specimens separated into thin-walled plastic tubes are unacceptable

Aliquot Transport

Transport at 2 - 8 degrees C if transport time from collection is less than 24 hours. Transport frozen if more than 24 hours.

Test Information


Molecular Biology

Test Availability

Mon - Fri, 0800 - 1630 excl. Public Holidays

Laboratory Turnaround Time



COBAS Ampliprep/COBAS TaqMan HCV V.2.0

Unit Of Measurement

IU/mL and log

Uncertainty Of Measurement


Diagnostic Use Or Instructions

Choosing Clinical Laboratory Tests Wisely Guidelines:

  • Clinicians should try to identify patients with raised LFTs due to chronic  viral hepatitis,
  • All HBsAg-positive pregnant women should have their HBV viral load measured,
  • All HCV PCR-positive patients should be referred to a specialist, for consideration of treatment with oral direct acting antiviral therapies (DAA).
  • New Zealand wide Many HBsAg-positive patients are not being properly followed up or referred, and stand the risk of developing preventable liver disease.


The is standardised against the WHO International Standard NIBSC 97/798

Minimum Volume

1mL plasma or serum