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J Appl Microbiol. 2011 Jul;111(1):70-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2011.05042.x. Epub 2011 May 20.

Detection of adeno- and lentiviral (HIV1) contaminations on laboratory surfaces as a tool for the surveillance of biosafety standards.

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State Laboratory Basel-City, Biosafety Laboratory, Basel, Switzerland.



As a biosafety laboratory, we survey the handling of adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) and HIV1-derived lentivirus in contained-use facilities in Switzerland to identify insufficiencies of the safety precautions taken by the laboratories.


In the past 9 years, we took 430 swab samples from various types of surfaces in research laboratories. Samples were examined for Ad5 contaminations by real-time PCR and infectivity assay or for the presence of lentivirus (HIV1) nucleic acids by real-time (RT) PCR. Samples collected from centrifuges did not only contain Ad5 DNA more frequently but also exhibited higher numbers of Ad5 and lentiviral (HIV1) DNA copies than swabs from any other area of sampling. Five of ten samples containing infectious Ad5 particles or lentivirus (HIV1) RNA were found in samples taken from centrifuges. Ad5 contamination rates were higher in the tube holder and lower on the inner wall of the rotor chamber in centrifuges that were fitted with aerosol tight covers compared to centrifuges without covers.


Our results allowed the comparison of hygiene standards of different laboratories and lead to the identification of centrifuges as hotspots for contaminations.


Based on our results, we propose to use the collected data as a tool for rating future swab results. Furthermore, the amount of Ad5 and HIV1-derived lentivirus DNA could serve as an indicator of the level of good laboratory practice in contained-use laboratories handling these viral vectors.

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