Assessment of inactivation procedures for SARS-CoV-2

J Gen Virol. 2021 Mar;102(3):001539. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.001539. Epub 2021 Jan 8.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), presents a challenge to laboratorians and healthcare workers around the world. Handling of biological samples from individuals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus requires strict biosafety measures. Within the laboratory, non-propagative work with samples containing the virus requires, at minimum, Biosafety Level-2 (BSL-2) techniques and facilities. Therefore, handling of SARS-CoV-2 samples remains a major concern in areas and conditions where biosafety for specimen handling is difficult to maintain, such as in rural laboratories or austere field testing sites. Inactivation through physical or chemical means can reduce the risk of handling live virus and increase testing ability especially in low-resource settings due to easier and faster sample processing. Herein we assess several chemical and physical inactivation techniques employed against SARS-CoV-2 isolates from Cambodia. This data demonstrates that all chemical (AVL, inactivating sample buffer and formaldehyde) and heat-treatment (56 and 98 °C) methods tested completely inactivated viral loads of up to 5 log10.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; biosafety; chemical inactivation; heat inactivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COVID-19 / virology*
  • Cambodia
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Containment of Biohazards*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2* / drug effects
  • SARS-CoV-2* / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2* / isolation & purification
  • Specimen Handling*
  • Viral Load / drug effects
  • Viral Load / statistics & numerical data
  • Virus Inactivation* / drug effects