Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Storing viruses in a box

  1. Jan 28, 2018 #1
    I see no reason why it can't be done, can't find any information on it in google. I think of a virus like a lego piece, it does what it does due to its shape and material. I couldn't find anything in regards to a virus's self decay.

    If you shelve it in a container that isolates it away from EM waves so there is no other force outsides of gravity affecting its state of being, can it not function all the same once the container is reopened and the virus some how is introduced and bypasses the host's defenses?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2018 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Whatcha' got in mind there, Scooter?
  4. Jan 28, 2018 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2017 Award

    A virus is not a lego brick. For example, components of viruses exist in an aqueous environment and, like all proteins, depend on being surrounded by water in order to properly fold into the correct shape. If the virus dries out, its components will no longer function, and in many cases, this loss of function is irreversible. Existing in a watery environment also poses some challenges as water can chemically react with components of the virus, breaking them apart, though this would occur at a much slower rate than dehydration of the virus under normal conditions.
  5. Feb 12, 2018 #4
    Yes, if you want to store a "Live" virus and want it not to decay, the best thing to suspend the virus in so it will not decay is polyethylene gycol 300 or 400 or P.E.G.. I have suspended many viruses in this liquid and 99% of the time they reactivate upon release from this substance despite that time passed even after freezing and thawing in aqueous P.E.G.. It is not about the forces of nature damaging them more about protein damage by other organisms or chemicals or lack of proper storage medium that make them nonfunctional. I have several stored in test tubes filled with viruses or Viral Vectors and this aqueous P.E.G., it isn't a box but close, a sealed test tube.


    Virus or Viral Vector Suspended in aqueous P.E.G.


    If you want to see something even more interesting look at this, set of tubes.

    The Left one is one not suspended in aqueous P.E.G. making "Viral plaques" on the inside of the tube, The middle one is aqueous P.E.G. the clear liquid storage medium, The Right a Virus or Viral Vector Suspended in aqueous P.E.G.


    In any case, there is your answer from someone who has done this.

    P.S. : Sorry, for the poor lighting.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted