X-ray irradiated viruses: a new research product from NCPV

X-ray irradiation is enabling inactive virus material to be available for research use from The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses, part of UKHSA Culture Collections. Team leader Dr Jane Burton and virologist Teresa Ramalho explain how.

One of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic was the urgent requirement to generate inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus material that could be used to develop and validate diagnostic assays such as lateral flow devices.1 As the SARS-CoV-2 virus variants of concern (VOCs) emerged, diagnostic assays required constant re-evaluation and updating.2

Pioneering development of methods for the X-ray irradiation of viruses had been carried out by the Diagnostics and Pathogen Characterisation Department at UKHSA, Porton, in collaboration with colleagues at UKHSA Chilton.3,4

Building on these studies, SARS-CoV-2 VOCs were X-ray inactivated and distributed for use in diagnostic assay development. This led to a collaboration between the Diagnostic and Pathogen Characterisation Group and The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV) to make X-ray irradiated SARS-CoV-2 available to the wider scientific community through the NCPV catalogue.

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