The human coronavirus NL63 was identified in 2004 and subsequent studies showed its worldwide distribution. Infection with this pathogen is associated with upper and lower respiratory tract diseases of mild to moderate severity. Furthermore, HCoV-NL63 is the main cause of croup in children. Within this study an optimal protocol for freeze-drying that allows safe and effective preservation of HCoV-NL63 infectious material was developed. Lyophilized virus preparations can be stored either at ambient temperature or at +4°C. In the latter case samples may be stored for at least two months. Surprisingly, conducted analysis showed that HCoV-NL63 virions are exquisitely stable in liquid media and can be stored also without preservatives at ambient temperature for up to 14 days.
Keywords: Coronaviridae; Coronavirus; HCoV-NL63; Lyophilization; NL63; Stability.
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