24 Sep 2020
Growth, detection, quantification, and inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 (Virology)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 is the agent responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to SARS-CoV, which caused the 2003 SARS outbreak. Although numerous reagents were developed to study SARS-CoV infections, few have been applicable to evaluating SARS-CoV-2 infection and immunity. Current limitations in studying SARS-CoV-2 include few validated assays with fully replication-competent wild-type virus. M.S. Diamond et. al. have developed protocols to propagate, quantify, and work with infectious SARS-CoV-2. Here, we describe: (1) virus stock generation, (2) RT-qPCR quantification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA; (3) detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigen by flow cytometry, (4) quantification of infectious SARS-CoV-2 by focus-forming and plaque assays; and (5) validated protocols for virus inactivation. Collectively, these methods can be adapted to a variety of experimental designs, which should accelerate our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology and the development of effective countermeasures against COVID-19.