COVID-19 PCR test amplification cycle number: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

What limits on amplication on the PCR test does Scotland use and/or recommend?

Please send me any directive or letter authorising this.


On 21 December Public Health Scotland published an updated version of Covid-19 Laboratory Testing - Frequently Asked Questions. You can find it here:

HPS Website - COVID-19 - laboratory testing frequently asked questions (

Each manufacturer of the RT-PCR test will recommend a differing maximum amplification cycle number when determining the presence of SARS CoV-2, but a maximum of around 40 amplification cycles is typically recommended by test manufacturers.


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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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