Gamma Irradiation as an Effective Method for Inactivation of Emerging Viral Pathogens

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019 May;100(5):1275-1277. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0937.


Gamma irradiation using a cobalt-60 source is a commonly used method for the inactivation of infectious specimens to be handled safely in subsequent laboratory procedures. Here, we determined irradiation doses to safely inactivate liquid proteinaceous specimens harboring different emerging/reemerging viral pathogens known to cause neglected tropical and other diseases of regional or global public health importance. By using a representative arenavirus, bunyavirus, coronavirus, filovirus, flavivirus, orthomyxovirus, and paramyxovirus, we found that these enveloped viruses differed in their susceptibility to irradiation treatment with adsorbed doses for inactivation of a target dose of 1 × 106 50% tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50)/mL ranging from 1 to 5 MRads. This finding seemed generally inversely correlated with genome size. Our data may help to guide other facilities in testing and verifying safe inactivation procedures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Flavivirus / radiation effects
  • Gamma Rays*
  • Genome, Viral / radiation effects
  • Orthobunyavirus / radiation effects
  • Orthomyxoviridae / radiation effects
  • Virology / methods
  • Virus Inactivation / radiation effects*
  • Viruses / pathogenicity*
  • Viruses / radiation effects*