Health protection – collection

Virus reference department (VRD)

VRD provides clinical advice and laboratory investigations for a wide range of human virus infections.

The virus reference department (VRD) offers a wide range of immuno and molecular assays for the assessment of immune responses to viruses and molecular detection of viruses of public health importance.

VRD is a World Health Organization (WHO) Global Specialised measles and rubella laboratory, and contains WHO accredited national laboratories for influenza and poliovirus.

VRD’s work embraces both reference functions supporting NHS and public health activity, and has particular expertise in the detection and characterisation of:

  • sexually transmitted and blood borne viral pathogens
  • enteric and respiratory viruses

VRD units

VRD is made up of 9 units:

  • Antiviral unit (AVU)
  • Blood borne viruses unit (BBVU)
  • Enteric virus unit (EVU)
  • Human papillomavirus and hepatitis C virus reference unit (HPHCU)
  • Immunisation and diagnosis unit (IDU)
  • Respiratory virus unit (RVU)
  • Serological development unit (SDU)
  • Seromolecular services unit (SSU)
  • Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy unit (TSEU)


Virus Reference Department (VRD)

Public Health England
61 Colindale Avenue

VRD documents

  1. Virus reference department (VRD): user manual

    • Guidance

Antiviral unit (AVU)

  1. Antiviral unit (AVU): reference services

    • Detailed guide
  2. HIV genotypic susceptibility testing request form

    • Form

Human papillomavirus and hepatitis C virus unit (HPHCU)

  1. Human papillomavirus and hepatitis C virus unit (HPHCU): reference services

    • Detailed guide
  2. Hepatitis viruses investigation request form

    • Form
  3. Electron microscopy referral form

    • Form

Respiratory virus unit (RVU)

  1. Respiratory virus unit (RVU): diagnostic services

    • Detailed guide
  2. Influenza serology request form

    • Form
  3. Typing of influenza strains request form

    • Form
  4. Respiratory adenovirus typing request form

    • Form

Serological development unit (SDU)

  1. Serological development unit (SDU): services

    • Detailed guide

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy unit (TSE)

  1. Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy unit (TSE): services

    • Detailed guide