Infection and Immunity

Infection and Immunity

Infection and Immunity brings together the laboratory sciences of Medical Microbiology, Virology, Immunology and Histocompatibility Testing and Immunogenetics.

Our team of highly trained clinicians, healthcare scientists and dedicated support staff offer high quality, cost effective specialist services.

We deliver services for a variety of health care providers from Hospital Trusts and commercial organisations to General Practitioners for Merseyside, North Wales and parts of Cheshire.

For a comprehensive list of the tests we offer, or for more information, please refer to the relevant Laboratory Handbook.

Medical Microbiology & Virology

The Medical Microbiology laboratory provides an extensive clinical diagnostic and advisory service for the management of infections in patients across multiple hospital sites and provides support to infection prevention and control teams.

There is expertise available for the management of complex infection issues in a wide range of specialised fields including;

  • Critically ill patients
  • Immunosuppressed patients
  • Oncology/haematology patients
  • Recipients of solid organ transplants
  • Patients with cystic fibrosis
  • Bones and joint infections
  • Intracardiac infections
  • Neurposurgical infections

We use a comprehensive range of tests for the detection of infection causing bacteria, fungi and intestinal parasites. Sites of infection can be in any part of the body and include central nervous system (meningitis), blood (septicaemia), respiratory (including tuberculosis), gastrointestinal, genitourinary and wound or skin infections.

Once a pathogen is detected, we may perform tests to determine sensitivity to antibiotics. We also screen for antibiotic resistant organisms such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), extended spectrum beta lacatmase producers and vancomycin resistant enterococci to reduce the possibility of cross infection in hospitals. We use the latest technologies including BD Kiestra for sample processing and Bruker Biotyper MALDI-ToF for rapid bacteria and fungi identification.

LCL hosts the national Brucella Service. The laboratory detects both total IgB, IgM and specific IgG and IgM Brucella antibodies. All sera are screened using a CE marked total Brucella antibody assay and specific IgG/IgM enzyme immunoassays. Screen positive samples undergo further testing with in-house micro-agglutination and complement fixation in-house assays.

The Virology laboratories are recognised nationally as a Specialist Virology Centre providing high quality diagnostic services for screening and monitoring of viral infections. We test for antibodies in the blood as markers of infection to a range of viruses and other pathogens. These include the blood-borne-viruses [HIV, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV)] and syphilis.

To support the clinical management of pregnant women our laboratories can check the level of immune protection against vaccine-preventable virus infections including hepatitis A, HBV, measles and rubella.

The laboratory is also a testing hub for human papillomavirus (HPV) and is helping the NHS to improve the cervical cancer screening programme in England.

Using advanced molecular techniques we can detect the microbes that cause respiratory, gastrointestinal (e.g. norovirus), central nervous system and genital infections (e.g. chlamydia). These techniques can be used to determine appropriate anti-viral therapy for patients with chronic infections or to help those at higher risk of life-threatening infection such as transplant patients.

For a comprehensive list of the tests we offer, or for more information, please refer to the relevant Laboratory Handbook.

Immunology & Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics

The Clinical Immunology laboratory provides specialist laboratory services to assist in the diagnosis and management of allergies, immunodeficiencies, cancers of the immune system and autoimmune diseases.

The Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (H&I) laboratory (or Transplant Immunology) provides a high quality service to the solid organ (renal) and stem cell (bone marrow) transplant programs at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Our test repertoire includes HLA typing of patients and potential donors for both transplant programs as well as specific HLA typing for drug interactions and disease associations. We also perform patient/donor crossmatching, HLA antibody testing and post stem cell transplant monitoring. We also work closely with our clinical colleagues giving advice on the management of solid organ and stem cell transplant patients.

For a comprehensive list of the tests we offer, or for more information, please refer to the relevant Laboratory Handbook.