• Test Code:
  • Department:
  • Test Synonyms:
    EBVEBV PCR/QuantInfectious mononucleosisPost transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD)
  • CPT Code(s):

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a widespread DNA herpes virus that infects 90% of the healthy population by adulthood.  The virus mainly infects B lymphocytes, immortalizing them in culture, but also oropharyngeal epithelial cells and T-cells.  EBV has strong epidemiologic links to Infectious Mononucleosis, Burkitt Lymphoma and Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.  There is a weaker link to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Post-transplant lymphoprolierative disease (PTLD) is a potentially life-threatening complication after transplant and EBV is a strong risk factor.

Clinical Utility:
Quantitative PCR assay has an important role in monitoring virus reactivation and quantification of EBV, allowing for early treatment intervention and post-treatment observation of PTLD.


This EBV-PCR assay utilizes Nanogen’s MGB Alert Detection Reagent Analyte Specific Reagents for amplification of Epstein-Barr virus.  Nucleic acid is extracted from samples and PCR is performed on the ABI 7500 Real-Time PCR System.  Following PCR, the MGB probes enable melting curves to be generated and allow for detection of low-level targets as well as variants.  EBV amplification and melting curves are observed within the same PCR as the Internal Control amplification and melting curves.

270 copies of EBV DNA per milliliter


No cross-reactivity with the following viral species was seen: HSV, HIV, HCV, CMV, VZV and Enterovirus.

Specimen Requirements:

  • Whole Blood:
    • Adult: 5-10 mL whole blood in purple top (EDTA) tube.
    • Peds: 2-5 mL whole blood in purple top (EDTA) tube.
    • Pediatric Minimum is 200µL.
    • Ship cold, but not frozen.
  • Plasma:
    • Adult: 5-10 mL whole blood in purple top (EDTA) tube, spin and freeze plasma within 4 hours of collection.
    • Peds: 2 – 5 mL whole blood in purple top (EDTA) tube, spin and freeze plasma within 4 hours of collection.
    • Pediatric Minimum is 200µL of plasma.
    • Ship to laboratory frozen
  • CSF:
    • Adult: 1-2mL in sterile container.
    • Peds: 0.5-1mL in sterile container.
    • Pediatric Minimum is 200µL.
    • Ship to laboratory cold.

A REQUISITION FORM MUST ACCOMPANY ALL SAMPLES.  Please include detailed clinical information. 

Test Performed (Days):

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

Turn Around Time:

1-3 days

Shipment Sensitivity Requirements:

Keep whole blood and CSF cold and ship on cold packs.  Package and ship plasma on dry ice.  Please contact Client Services at (855) 535-1522 for shipping kits and instructions.  Ship via overnight express, using the FedEx priority overnight label provided.


  1. Gulley M, Fan H, Elmore S. 2006. Validation of Roche LightCycler Epstein-Barr Virus Quantification Reagents in a Clinical Laboratory Setting. Journal of Molecular Diagnostics 8(5): 589-597.
  2. Hayden R, Hokanson K, Pounds S, et al. 2008. Multicenter Comparison of Different Real-Time PCR Assays for Quantitative Detection of Epstein-Barr Virus. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 46(1): 157-163.
  3. Meerbach A, Wutzler P, Häfer R, et al. 2008. Monitoring of Epstein-Barr Virus Load After Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Early Intervention in Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disease. Journal of Medical Virology 80(1): 441-454.

Additional Info:

The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of precision cancer medicine. The institute's director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down just the cells that enable cancer to grow. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and transformed how cancer is treated. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle – an honor earned only by the nation's top cancer centers. It is headquarters for one of the National Cancer Institute's largest research collaboratives, SWOG, in addition to offering the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials.

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