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Genetic Material collected by PCR Tests

Barbara Belger made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

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From: Barbara Belger

Dear Ministry of Health,
May I please request information on further handling and possible storing of genetic material collected from and through PCR tests here in NZ.
Please can you be as specific as possible about what is happening after the PCR test sample is taking from a person. Thank you

Yours faithfully,
Barbara Clegg nee Belger

Link to this

From: OIA Requests

Kia ora Barbara
Thank you for your request for official information received on 29 March
2021 for:

"May I please request information on further handling and possible
storing of genetic material collected from and through PCR tests here in
NZ.Please can you be as specific as possible about what is happening
after the PCR test sample is taking from a person. Thank you"

The Ministry's reference number for your request is: H202103761.
As required under the Official Information Act 1982 we will endeavour to
respond to your request no later than 29 April 2021, being 20 working days
after the day your request was
received: [1]https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/ 
If we are unable to respond to your request within this time frame, we
will notify you of an extension of that time frame.
If you have any queries related to this request, please do not hesitate to
get in touch.
Ngā mihi
OIA Services Team

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From: Barbara Belger <[FYI request #15022 email]>
Sent: Monday, 29 March 2021 16:46
To: OIA Requests <[email address]>
Subject: Official Information request - Genetic Material collected by PCR
Tests
 
Dear Ministry of Health,
May I please request information on further handling and possible storing
of genetic material collected from and through PCR tests here in NZ.
Please can you be as specific as possible about what is happening after
the PCR test sample is taking from a person. Thank you

Yours faithfully,
Barbara Clegg nee Belger

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This is an Official Information request made via the FYI website.

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[FYI request #15022 email]

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Link to this

From: OIA Requests

Kia ora Barbara

Thank you for your email of 29 March 2021 for information on PCR test specimen handling/storing.

In order to assist you with your request, could you please clarify if you're referring to COVID-19 PCR testing specifically?

We look forward to your response.

Ngā mihi

OIA Services Team

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Link to this

From: Barbara Belger

Dear OIA Requests,
Thank you for your clarifying question.
Yes, my request is concerning the SARS-CoV2 | Covid 19 PCR test.

Yours sincerely,

Barbara Belger

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From: OIA Requests


Attachment image001.jpg
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Kia ora Barbara

 

 

In response to your request, outlined below is information around handling
and storing of specimen for COVID-19 PCR testing.

 

You may also be interested to know that the Ministry has published several
responses to official information requests regarding COVID-19 testing. The
following may be particularly useful to you:

o COVID-19 PCR testing cycle:
[1]https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/...
o COVID-19 cycle threshold (CT) value for PCR testing:
[2]https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/...

 

Sample collection and preparation

•             Nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal/anterior nares swabs that
are collected are delivered to the local accredited medical diagnostic
testing laboratory.

•             Swabs are received into the laboratory information system
and are labelled with their unique sample barcode.

•             Swabs are then forwarded to the technical area for testing.

 

Viral RNA extraction

•             Swabs undergo viral RNA extraction using high throughput
automated systems.

 

RT-PCR

•             The extracted viral RNA is aliquoted into PCR plates with
reagent that is specific for the qualitative detection of gene targets
that are unique SARS-CoV-2 virus by reverse transcription polymerase chain
reaction (RT-PCR).

 

Reporting

•             Once the RT-PCR run has been completed all the results are
analysed and validated by a medical laboratory scientist and/or Clinical
Microbiologist.

•             Results are sent electronically from the laboratory
information system to the requestor and Éclair result repository.

•             Text message results to the patient from their Doctor will
be sent.

 

Negative results

•             Negative results are reported as described above.

 

Positive results

•             The original swab is retrieved from storage and may undergo
another extraction and RT-PCR using a different method to confirm positive
result.

•             Swabs and/or nucleic acid from positive samples is sent to
ESR CDC for whole genome sequencing

•             Positive results are notified to Public Health.

 

Storage of swabs and nucleic acid

•             Once testing has been completed, the swabs are then archived
and stored at 4-8C for up to 7 days, after which they are discarded.

•             Nucleic acid extracts stored for 4 weeks at – 20C.

 

Whole Genome Sequencing
([3]https://www.esr.cri.nz/our-expertise/cov...)

•             Positive SARS-CoV-2 samples are referred to ESR for whole
genome sequencing. These can be the original viral transport media sample
or an extract of viral RNA.

•             In these samples viral RNA is exclusively amplified and
sequenced.

•             In the rare cases where any clinical material is left over
it will be stored for a minimum of 1 month in line with National Pathology
Accreditation Advisor Council  (NPAAC) guidelines so that we can redo the
test should there be any queries about the result which can only be
resolved by repeating the test.

•             Due to the nature of SARS-CoV-2 as an emerging disease ESR
is storing any leftover material.

 

 

I trust this information fulfils your request.

 

Under section 28(3) of the Act you have the right to ask the Ombudsman to
review any decisions made under this request. The Ombudsman may be
contacted by email at: [email address] or by calling 0800 802
602.

 

Ngâ mihi

 

OIA Services Team

 

[4]Ministry of Health information releases

[5]Unite against COVID-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Link to this

From: Barbara Belger

Dear OIA Requests,

Thank you for your recent reply. Please can you specify HOW and where you dispose of the CoVid19 PCR test 'material' gathered from individuals here in New Zealand and confirm that actually you ARE disposing of the material in any event. Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Barbara Belger

Link to this

From: OIA Requests


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Kia ora Barbara

Thank you for your request for official information received on 1st May
2021 for:

" Please can you specify HOW and where you dispose of the CoVid19 PCR test
'material' gathered from individuals here in New Zealand and confirm that
actually you ARE disposing of the material in any event."
The Ministry's reference number for your request is: H202105172.
As required under the Official Information Act 1982, the Ministry will
endeavour to respond to your request no later than 28th May 2021, being 20
working days after the day your request was received.  

If we are unable to respond to your request within this time frame, we
will notify you of an extension of that time frame.

If you have any queries related to this request, please do not hesitate to
get in touch.

Ngā mihi

OIA Services
Government Services
Office of the Director-General
Ministry of Health
E: [1][email address]

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From: OIA Requests


Attachment H202105172.pdf
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Kia ora Barbara Belger

Please find attached a letter regarding your request for information.

Ngā mihi

OIA Services
Government Services
Office of the Director-General
Ministry of Health
E: [1][email address]

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