Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Patient Samples for Contemporary Immunology and Metabolomics Studies

Immunohorizons. 2022 Feb 16;6(2):144-155. doi: 10.4049/immunohorizons.2200005.


Due to the severity of COVID-19 disease, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommend that manipulation of active viral cultures of SARS-CoV-2 and respiratory secretions from COVID-19 patients be performed in biosafety level (BSL)3 laboratories. Therefore, it is imperative to develop viral inactivation procedures that permit samples to be transferred to lower containment levels (BSL2), while maintaining the fidelity of complex downstream assays to expedite the development of medical countermeasures. In this study, we demonstrate optimal conditions for complete viral inactivation following fixation of infected cells with commonly used reagents for flow cytometry, UVC inactivation in sera and respiratory secretions for protein and Ab detection, heat inactivation following cDNA amplification for droplet-based single-cell mRNA sequencing, and extraction with an organic solvent for metabolomic studies. Thus, we provide a suite of viral inactivation protocols for downstream contemporary assays that facilitate sample transfer to BSL2, providing a conceptual framework for rapid initiation of high-fidelity research as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Virus Inactivation*