Respiratory Pathogen Molecular Panel Testing

Respiratory Virus Mini Panel by PCR 0060764
Method: Qualitative Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction

Preferred test to confirm respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A, or influenza B in general inpatients and RSV in adults.

Respiratory Viral Panel by PCR 3001479
Method: Qualitative Polymerase Chain Reaction

Preferred test for evaluating severely immunocompromised (eg, BMT) or critically ill (ICU) patients with respiratory symptoms.

Test detects influenza A, influenza B, RSV, human metapneumovirus, human rhinovirus, and adenovirus.

Detects and differentiates parainfluenza 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Related Tests
Influenza A Virus H1/H3 Subtype by PCR 2007469
Method: Qualitative Polymerase Chain Reaction

Follow-up test for patients with documented influenza A.

Not a first-line test for the detection of suspected influenza in most clinical situations.

Detect and subtype the two predominant strains of circulating influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2).

Parainfluenza 1-4 by PCR 2006247
Method: Qualitative Polymerase Chain Reaction

Detect and differentiate parainfluenza types 1-4.

Viral respiratory tract infections are the most common diseases affecting humans worldwide. Respiratory viruses can be associated with both self-limiting upper respiratory tract infections (eg, the common cold) and more severe lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) (eg, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonitis, pneumonia). LRTIs are a major cause of hospitalization, morbidity, and mortality in infants and the elderly and are associated with significant disease burden.

Disease Overview


  • Viral infections cause ~80% of respiratory tract disease; mixed infections account for ~20 percent infection in adults, 60% in children
  • Symptomatic disease varies by viral type and patient age
    • Highest rates occur in young and elderly populations with widely varying outcomes
  • Seasonal influenza causes a large proportion of viral respiratory disease
    • Median incidence of ~8% in U.S. 2010 to 2016


Symptoms general occur within 1-3 days of exposure and last 7-14 days.

Location Symptoms
Upper respiratory infections

Nasal congestion



Sore throat




Decreased appetitea


Lower respiratory infectionsb

Worsening cough

Shortness of breath

Focal pain



aEspecially in children

bOverlap with upper infection

cOlder adults

Test Interpretation


Negative result

  • Does not rule out the presence of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inhibitors in patient specimen
  • Does not detect assay-specific nucleic acid in concentrations below level of detection by assay
  1. Self WH, Williams DJ, Zhu Y, Ampofo K, Pavia AT, Chappell JD, Hymas WC, Stockmann C, Bramley AM, Schneider E, Erdman D, Finelli L, Jain S, Edwards KM, Grijalva CG. Respiratory Viral Detection in Children and Adults: Comparing Asymptomatic Controls and Patients With Community-Acquired Pneumonia. J Infect Dis. 2016; 213(4): 584-91. PubMed
  2. Jain S, Williams DJ, Arnold SR, Ampofo K, Bramley AM, Reed C, Stockmann C, Anderson EJ, Grijalva CG, Self WH, Zhu Y, Patel A, Hymas W, Chappell JD, Kaufman RA, Kan H, Dansie D, Lenny N, Hillyard DR, Haynes LM, Levine M, Lindstrom S, Winchell JM, Katz JM, Erdman D, Schneider E, Hicks LA, Wunderink RG, Edwards KM, Pavia AT, McCullers JA, Finelli L, CDC EPIC Study Team. Community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among U.S. children. N Engl J Med. 2015; 372(9): 835-45. PubMed
  3. Tokars JI, Olsen SJ, Reed C. Seasonal Incidence of Symptomatic Influenza in the United States. Clin Infect Dis. 2018; 66(10): 1511-1518. PubMed

Last Update: May 2019