Antiviral unit (AVU): reference services

AVU provide a laboratory reference service for genotypic resistance testing of HIV, investigation of HIV transmission events and HSV resistance testing.

Antiviral unit (AVU) houses a World Health Organisation global specialised HIV drug resistance laboratory.

Services available

AVU provides reference services for:

  • genotypic resistance testing of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) (including minority mutant detection)
  • analysis of HIV transmission events for public health-related investigations
  • HIV subtyping by sequencing
  • Herpes simplex virus (HSV) antiviral resistance testing

Other reference and training activities include:

  • organisation of UK external quality assessment for HIV resistance testing
  • provision of training in laboratory and clinical aspects of HIV resistance testing, especially implementation of new assays
  • leading the UK HIV genotypic resistance working group


AVU research activities include:

  • development and roll-out of novel genotypic assays for detection of drug resistance in HIV
  • development and application of single-cycle phenotypic assays for investigation of HIV drug resistance
  • investigation of the role of accessory mutations in levels of HIV drug resistance and viral fitness
  • discovery of host factors involved in restriction of HIV replication

Requesting HIV genotypic resistance testing

Use the HIV genotypic susceptibility testing request form (S9) when submitting samples.

AVU guidance and forms

Contact AVU

Antiviral unit (AVU)

Public Health England
61 Colindale Avenue