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COVID-19 (Coronavirus info)

Information and guidance for public, NHSGGC staff, and community-based services.  Hospital visiting restrictions now in place.

VPSS: Viral PCR Sample Solution

For molecular processing including Covid 19 testing at the GRI Virology Laboratory, please use VPSS this is the optimal specimen container. Any dry swab can be used to inoculate the VPSS specimen container after inoculation the swab MUST be discarded.



VPSS reduces delays as the samples can go straight on to our analysers without further processing.

These containers are supplied with a variety of different coloured lids - but they all contain the same buffer. The small containers have Virus PCR Sample Solution printed on the label.

There is now also a new slightly larger VPSS container, which will eventually replace the smaller ones, which has a red lid. It has VPSS printed on the label and should not be confused with some VTM containers.


Above is a comparison of assorted VPSS specimen containers.

Please note: do NOT wet swabs with liquid in virus PCR (VPSS) tube before taking samples. Be careful handling the Virus PCR solution as VPSS is mildly caustic. If you splash the solution on your hands, skin or eyes, please rinse with copious amounts of water.

Flocked swabs (which have improved sample collection and release in to VPSS) should be used wherever possible (to offer the greatest sensitivity), in conjunction with Viral PCR Sample Solution, however any swab maybe used with VPSS.

The quality of the sampling when taking a swab is vital to the detection of any pathogen present.  

After the swab is taken, the swab should be expressed on the side of the VPSS vial, releasing any pathogen present into the fluid. The swab should then be discarded. The cap replaced tightly prior to the vial being sent to the laboratory. The pathogen will be inactivated (rendered uninfectious) and the genome preserved for testing within the VPSS fluid.

                        New Picture.pngVPSS 3.png

Swab types for addition to VPSS include (but are not limited to) nose and throat (nose and throat swabs should be taken separately and expressed into the SAME VPSS vial), genital ulcer/vesicle, eye, vesicle, ulcer, lesion, mouth, pharyngeal and rectal swabs.

Swab samples NOT to be used with VPSS are vulvovaginal, rectal and pharyngeal swabs for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae PCR. Please use the Abbott multi-collect specimen collection kit for these samples. Genital swabs received in VPSS will automatically receive PCR testing for herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) and Treponema pallidum (Syphilis)

When Viral PCR Sample Solution (VPSS)is not available, swabs can be cut off and sent dry in a sterile container. This should be avoided whenever possible as the virus remains infectious and sensitivity is reduced. VPSS inactivates and preserves the pathogen genome for PCR testing.

            Swabbing 1.png    swabbing 2.png    Swabbing 3.png

Ordering VPSS

Please email the WoSSVC ( [email protected] ) to order Viral PCR solution (VPSS).

Please include:

  1. The requesting location address (inc. the postcode)
  2. The number of VPSS vials required
  3. Name, telephone number and email address of a contact in case of questions regarding the order 

Alternatively requests for VPSS can be made via the office on 38722 (0141 201 8722).

For GP practices we recommend 12 vials of VPSS

For wards we recommend 12 vials of VPSS

For laboratories who refer samples we recommend 100 vials of VPSS

Last Updated: 29 January 2021