Handlings with lentiviral transduced mammalian cells under non-contained conditions

Advisory reports | 09.03.2005 | 050309-01

The COGEM has been asked to advise on handlings with mammalian cells infected with a genetically modified (gm) virus (lentiviral vector). The purpose of the research is to investigate the development and physiology of heart tissue. The applicant holds already a license for handlings with cells under containment level ML-II. Due to practical reasons it is not possible to perform the intended electrophysiological measurements with a microscope in a containment unit. Therefore the applicant requests a license to perform these experiments, under non-contained conditions. The mammalian cells will be cultured under physical containment for six days. During the culture period the amount of remaining gm-virus will decrease 50 percent every ten hours. As a result the quantity of gm-virus will be reduced to undetectable levels. In addition, the cells will be washed and treated with trypsin at least twice to further inactivate lentiviral particles. Since the experiment is performed under non-contained conditions using closed culture dishes, the chance is extremely small that possible active viral particles are released in the environment. Considering the above-mentioned, in COGEM’s opinion, the proposed activities, pose a negligible risk for human health and the environment and, therefore, can be carried out under non-contained conditions.