Essential services: COVID-19 update

ESR is actively supporting the response to COVID-19 with research coverin genome sequencing, wastewater testing, saliva testing, environmental swabbing and testing.

PLEASE NOTE: For COVID-19 health advice and information (Including advice on getting tested), contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.

In this unprecedented pandemic situation, ESR’s priority is on the wellbeing, health and safety of our 420 staff who work right across the country delivering excellent research and science solutions.  

We also recognise the need to maintain a number of essential services that we deliver for Government.  While our facilities, laboratories and facilities will be closed to non-essential staff, ESR remains on stand-by to respond to any other community, health or environmental issue Government requires us to support.  

As the situation changes, so too will our need to respond in different ways and we will keep the website updated. 


ESR Essential Services

Updated 4 May

Species Verification Testing
Confirmatory testing (HIV, HTLV, HBV, HCV) for NZ Blood Service
Confirmation of antibiotic susceptibility results
Radionuclide Testing
Salmonella typing and outbreak detection
Cluster analysis of multidrug-resistant organisms
Personal Dosimetry Services
STEC typing and outbreak detection
Norovirus (suspected) outbreak testing 
MFAT NDC Monitoring
Shigella typing
Legionella outbreak source tracing
CTBTO Station Monitoring
V cholerae toxin testing          
Influenza testing
Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory Analysis
Vibrio cholerae toxin testing
Arbovirus testing
Meningococcal grouping
Leptospira MAT testing
Significant water and foodborne illness investigation
Diphtheria toxin testing
Typing of VRE from possible clusters   
Haemophilus influenzae serotyping b
Carbapenemase gene subtype from possible clusters
Maintenance of notifiable disease surveillance systems
Species Verification Testing
Antibiotic susceptibility testing
Weekly EARS review and PH AIDE
COVID-19 Response Functions (including ILI surveillance)
Pharma Testing Schedules
Crime Sample DNA Profiling
Register Maintenance/DWO Support
Databank Sample DNA Profiling
Annual Review
Bovine STEC confirmation
Drug Identification
Analysis and Advice
Alcohol Analysis
Drug Quantitation
Western Med Screen
Carbon Monoxides
Low Copy Number DNA profiling
Laser MicroDissection analysis
Crime scenes (including clandestine labs & firearm scenes)
STRmix™ validation support and troubleshooting
Body Fluids Screen
Physical Evidence Screen
Drugs in Wastewater
Antimicrobial resistance 
 Physical Evidence analysis
Minifiler DNA analysis
Reference sample DNA profiling
Y Chromosome DNA profiling

Please note: all isolates and specimens usually sent to ESR for public health surveillance can still be sent to ESR’s labs for storage.  There may be a delay in processing and reporting for those services not on the essential list.  Please contact the appropriate lab for further information.