Culturing of SARS-CoV-2 from patient samples: protocol for optimal virus recovery and assessment of infectious viral load.

Publication date: Mar 04, 2024

Optimal sampling, preservation, and culturing of SARS-CoV-2 from COVID-19 patients are critical for successful recovery of virus isolates and to accurately estimate contagiousness of the patient. In this study, we investigated the influence of the type of sampling media, storage time, freezing conditions, sterile filtration, and combinations of these to assess the optimal pre-analytic conditions for virus recovery and estimation of infectious viral load in COVID-19 patients. Further, we investigated the viral shedding kinetics and mucosal antibody response in 38 COVID-19 hospitalized patients. We found Universal Transport Medium (Copan) to be the most optimal medium for preservation of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Our data showed that the probability of a positive viral culture was strongly correlated to Ct values, however some samples did not follow the general trend. We found a significant correlation between plaque forming units and levels of mucosal antibodies and found that high levels of mucosal antibodies correlated with reduced chance of isolating the virus. Our data reveals essential parameters to consider from specimen collection over storage to culturing technique for optimal chance of isolating SARS-CoV-2 and accurately estimating patient contagiousness.

Concepts Keywords
Antibodies contagiousness
Covid COVID-19
Freezing plaque assay
Recovery SARS-CoV-2
Viral viral culture
viral quantification


Type Source Name
disease VO protocol
disease MESH COVID-19
disease IDO contagiousness
disease VO storage
disease VO time
disease MESH viral shedding
disease IDO infectivity
disease IDO assay

Original Article

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