Shipping Instructions

Instructions for Shipping Your Samples to the WHO CCRRI

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Please note that these instructions relate only to isolates and specimens of human influenza viruses, ie. A(H1N1), A(H3N2) and type B viruses. If you have a highly pathogenic influenza strain (eg. Avian influenza H7 and H5 subtypes), please email us.


  • Sample preparation and shipping checklist
  • Guidelines for selecting samples for shipment
  • 1. Before you send your samples

  • Please contact us to inform us of your intention to send us samples, so we can expect your shipment.
  • If you can identify the subtype of your samples using the HI Typing Assay prior to shipping, this will greatly assist processing at the WHO CCRRI. If this is not possible, or if you have an urgent sample for which the Diagnostic Assay will delay shipping, please send us your sample immediately and we will determine the subtype at the WHO CCRRI. To learn more about the HI Typing Assay, click here
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    2. Sample preparation and packaging

    *NEW* Please see this note on selecting the right transport medium for influenza virus isolation

  • Please include a copy of the following paperwork with your samples AND also send us a copy separately (by email if possible)
  • (For international shipments) AQIS Permit: please email us to request a copy of our current import permit

    Sample Submission Form (UPDATED Dec 2020): download Sample Submission Form

    Please note: For domestic shipments, this Sample Submission Form is the only form required for shipment

    In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO have released a new Interim Guide. In it, they request that laboratories notify WHO Collaborating Centres on whether the samples submitted have been tested for SARS-CoV-2. We have therefore modified our sample submission form to reflect this.

    Please ensure you use this new form for shipping

    When filling out the Sample Submission Form, please provide as much information as possible (including relevant patient data), as this will greatly assist us in processing the samples.

  • Both clinical specimens and viral isolates should be stored at -70°C and shipped on dry ice. (The viruses will not survive if they are stored at -20°C and shipped on wet ice.) Please minimise the number of times that clinical specimens are freeze-thawed.
  • If sending viral isolates, please send 1-2ml of isolate.
  • For clinical specimens, it is ideal to send at least 0.5-1ml of specimen (and more if possible). However if this is not possible, please send whatever volume you can provide.
  • Samples should be sent in clearly labelled neoprene tubes with leak-proof caps. If your samples are frozen and in leak-proof tubes, wrapping in parafilm should not be necessary. Please ensure that your labels are securely fastened and not at risk of falling off or being erased while being shipped – if possible please use non-erasable ink.
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    3. Shipping

    All samples to be shipped to the WHO Collaborating Centre require paperwork to be completed. Please follow the instructions below, depending on whether you are a WHO National Influenza Centre or an Independent Laboratory.

    WHO National Influenza Centres: as a WHO National Influenza Centre, you have access to the WHO Shipping Fund. To book a shipment with the Fund, fill out and submit the Booking Form below to World Courier Geneva. The courier will assist you with the consignment note, customs forms and commercial invoice required for shipping.


  • WHO Shipping Fund Guidelines document
  • Additional documents referenced in guidelines:

  • WHO Shipping Fund Booking form (blank: to be completed and submitted before each shipment)
  • WHO Shipping Fund Packing list/Invoice (blank: to be completed and to accompany the shipment)
  • Independent Laboratories (international): If you have not already selected a courier for shipping, our preferred courier is Labcabs International

  • Phone (within Australia) - 1300 522 222
  • Phone (outside of Australia) - +61 7 3399 3133
  • Australian Customs requires the following documents to be provided with your shipment. We have provided templates for these documents to best ensure your samples reach us quickly.

    Consignment note

    1 copy

    Consignment note (HWB) example

    Customs declaration

    3 copies

    Customs form template

    Commercial invoice

    2 copies

    Commercial invoice template

    AQIS Permit

    2 copies

    Please email us to request a copy of our current import permit.

    Independent Laboratories (domestic):

    Please email us at to arrange shipment.

    For domestic shipments, only the Sample Submission Form (available above) will be required.

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    Please contact us if you have any questions or require any other information.