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

Friederike Feldmann Division of Intramural Research (DIR), Rocky Mountain Veterinary Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Hamilton, Montana;

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W. Lesley Shupert Division of Intramural Research (DIR), Laboratory of Virology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Hamilton, Montana;

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Elaine Haddock Division of Intramural Research (DIR), Laboratory of Virology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Hamilton, Montana;

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Barri Twardoski Division of Intramural Research (DIR), Office of Operations and Management, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Hamilton, Montana

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Heinz Feldmann Division of Intramural Research (DIR), Laboratory of Virology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Hamilton, Montana;

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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.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Heinz Feldmann, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, 903 S 4th St., Hamilton, MT 59840. E-mail: feldmannh@niaid.nih.gov

Financial support: Funding for this study was provided by the Intramural Research Program, NIAID, NIH.

Authors’ addresses: Friederike Feldmann, Division of Intramural Research, Rocky Mountain Veterinary Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, MT, E-mail: feldmannfe@niaid.nih.gov. W. Lesley Shupert, Elaine Haddock, and Heinz Feldmann, Division of Intramural Research, Laboratory of Virology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, MT, E-mails: wlshupert@niaid.nih.gov, elaine.haddock@nih.gov, and feldmannh@niaid.nih.gov. Barri Twardoski, Division of Intramural Research, Office of Operations and Management, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, MT, E-mail: twardoskib@niaid.nih.gov.

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