RVPBRU: reference and diagnostic services

Respiratory and vaccine preventable bacteria reference unit (RVPBRU), provides national and international reference laboratory services.

RVPBRU is part of Public Health England’s bacteria reference department (BRD) and provides reference laboratory services for a number of bacteria causing respiratory, systemic and vaccine preventable bacterial infections.

RVPBRU is made up of 2 sections:

  • respiratory and systemic bacterial section
  • vaccine preventable bacterial section

RVPBRU services

RVPBRU provides national reference facilities for many respiratory, systemic and vaccine-preventable bacterial associated bacteria, including:

RVPBRU also offers serodiagnostic testing for:

  • diphtheria immunity or vaccination studies
  • tetanus immunity
  • Bordetella pertussis

RVPBRU receives bacterial isolates and clinical samples which are analysed by a wide range of methodologies in accordance with customer needs and also performs surveillance and advises on incident and outbreak investigation.

For more information on RVPBRU services and contact details refer to the BRD user manual.

Important service update

Most RVPBRU services, including routine typing of isolates, are running as usual. However, to provide critical support to the enhanced COVID-19 incident, 2 services have been suspended with immediate effect:

  • Characterisation of Bordetella and Bordetella pertussis PCR-positive clinical specimens for surveillance
  • Leptospira confirmatory testing by MAT and MLST (Leptospira PCR and EIA services provided by PHE RIPL are running as routine)

Please contact RVPBRU using the contact list in the BRD user manual.

RVPBRU forms

Respiratory and systemic bacteria section request form: R1

Vaccine preventable bacteria section request form: R3



Public Health England
61 Colindale

Published 1 August 2014
Last updated 14 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added notification of service delivery changes made to PHE reference and specialist laboratories to provide critical support to the COVID-19 incident.

  2. First published.