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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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COVID-19 virus isolation and testing (FOI)

COVID-19 virus isolation and testing (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 07 September 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.



Has the government of Jersey or any of its departments Identified and Isolated the Virus known as Covid-19 also known by any other names for example but not limited to SARS-CoV2. This should not include PCR testing or Lateral flow testing.


Has the government or its departments have in its possession any reports or evidence from external or internal sources Identifying the Isolated Virus known as Covid-19 also known by any other names for example but not limited to SARS-CoV2. This should not include PCR testing or Lateral flow testing.


Does the government have any evidence other than PCR testing and or Lateral flow testing that the Virus known as Covid-19 also known by any other names for example but not limited to SARS-CoV2 exists on the island of Jersey.



The Government of Jersey including its departments have not identified and isolated SARS-CoV-2 from a sample without the use of PCR or lateral flow methodology. Jersey does not have the technological ability, human resources and expertise needed to isolate and grow viruses locally from a specimen. The act of isolating and identifying a virus from a specimen without of the use of PCR or Lateral Flow (for example in the form of creating a primary isolate for viral culturing) requires a complex laboratory set up normally found in tertiary referral centres and universities. The larger specialist institutions have validated specificity and sensitivity of more practical identification tests such as PCR and lateral flow devices as used by peripheral laboratories across the world including ours in Jersey.


As previously stated, the Government of Jersey does not have the resources available to isolate SARS-CoV-2 locally and so no internal reports or evidence is held in respect to isolating SARS-COV-2.

Reports or evidence from external sources can be found in the public domain.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus was classified and named by the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses. A consensus statement from the Coronaviridae Study Group of the ICTV describing this process is in the public domain and is available in the following link:

The species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus: classifying 2019-nCoV and naming it SARS-CoV-2 | Nature Microbiology  

Further information on the isolation of SARS-COV-2 and viral cultures can be found via institutions which have performed virus isolation.


PCR testing is externally validated and is an internationally agreed testing method for COVID-19. Lateral Flow Testing supplements PCR testing.

Some specimens collected locally are sent to more advanced laboratories in the UK for further genetic sequencing and genotyping in respect to identifying variants of COVID-19. These tests have shown not only the existence of COVID-19 in Jersey but the specific variants in circulation.

In addition to PCR and lateral flow testing of individuals (and PCR methods when testing wastewater), lab-based antigen tests have also been used locally by the microbiology department which have also shown the existence of COVID-19 in Jersey. Covid antibody tests also demonstrate previous exposure to COVID-19 infection (or vaccination against COVID). Previous COVID-19 antibody prevalence studies have been undertaken in Jersey, the results of which can be found on in the following link:

COVID-19 antibody prevalence studies

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