Psoralen Inactivation of Viruses: A Process for the Safe Manipulation of Viral Antigen and Nucleic Acid

Viruses. 2015 Nov 12;7(11):5875-88. doi: 10.3390/v7112912.


High consequence human pathogenic viruses must be handled at biosafety level 2, 3 or 4 and must be rendered non-infectious before they can be utilized for molecular or immunological applications at lower biosafety levels. Here we evaluate psoralen-inactivated Arena-, Bunya-, Corona-, Filo-, Flavi- and Orthomyxoviruses for their suitability as antigen in immunological processes and as template for reverse transcription PCR and sequencing. The method of virus inactivation using a psoralen molecule appears to have broad applicability to RNA viruses and to leave both the particle and RNA of the treated virus intact, while rendering the virus non-infectious.

Keywords: BSL-3; BSL-4; IFA; PCR; Trizol LS; antibody; biocontainment; biosafety; inactivation; psoralen; reverse transcription; safety; sequencing; sterility; virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Antiviral Agents / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Ficusin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects*
  • RNA Viruses / drug effects*
  • RNA Viruses / genetics
  • RNA Viruses / immunology
  • RNA Viruses / physiology*
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Virus Inactivation*


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Antiviral Agents
  • RNA, Viral
  • Ficusin