National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses

Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research, Porton Down, Salisbury SP4 0JG, U.K.

E-mail  Tel: +44 (0) 1980 612619     Fax: +44 (0)1980 612731                           

The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses occupies dedicated refurbished laboratory accommodation at the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR) near Salisbury in Wiltshire. CAMR is a Special Health Authority of the Department of Health and a centre of excellence working on infectious diseases. The Office of Science and Technology and the Wellcome Trust are jointly supporting this latest addition to the UKNCC group of culture collections. From a starting point which takes advantage of CAMR's holdings of "exotic" viruses, the NCPV is building up a wide-ranging archive of well-characterised, authenticated human pathogens which will resource the supply of viruses, and materials derived from them, to the scientific community. Policies for accession and distribution of viruses, and on scientific activities associated with the Collection, are developed in conjunction with a Scientific Advisory Panel composed of distinguished virologists from universities and medical schools, government agencies and industry.

Authenticity of research materials, including viruses, is becoming more and more an issue in today's regulatory environment. Material supplied by NCPV will be accompanied by documentation including source and passage history, and evidence of identity such as appropriate antibody reactivity, or PCR or nucleotide sequence data, as the Collection develops. An incremental programme to make available non-infectious virus-derived materials such as DNA or RNA from purified virus or from infected cells, individual virus genes (in the form of PCR products or cloned DNA), and viral proteins is also under way. There are also plans for courses in laboratory virology and the handling of viral pathogens, which will build on the highly popular ones run by ECACC.

The Collection is expected to be of benefit in the development and testing of vaccines and antiviral compounds, in the development and validation of diagnostic test systems, and in the conservation of biodiversity. Since the whole purpose of the Collection is to provide a service to the virological community, NCPV is very interested to hear from potential users. What would you like to be made available, what extra services or products would you like to see? We would also like to hear from those who would be wishing to contribute viruses to the Collection.