Variation in Thermal Stability among Respiratory Syncytial Virus Clinical Isolates under Non-Freezing Conditions

Yuki Kitai, Ko Sato, Kazuya Shirato, Suguru Ohmiya, Oshi Watanabe, Tomoko Kisu, Reiko Ota, Makoto Takeda, Kazuyoshi Kawakami, Hidekazu Nishimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Virus isolates are not only useful for diagnosing infections, e.g., respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), but can also facilitate many aspects of practical viral studies such as analyses of antigenicity and the action mechanisms of antivirals, among others. We have been isolating RSV from clinical specimens from patients with respiratory symptoms every year since our first isolation of RSV in 1964, and isolation rates have varied considerably over the years. As collected clinical specimens are conventionally stored in a refrigerator from collection to inoculation into cells, we hypothesized that certain storage conditions or associated factors might account for these differences. Hence, we evaluated the thermal stability of a total of 64 viruses isolated from 1998 to 2018 upon storage at 4C and 20C for a defined duration. Interestingly, and contrary to our current understanding, 22 strains (34%) showed a greater loss of viability upon short-term storage at 4C than at 20C. Thirty-seven strains (57%) showed an almost equal loss, and only five strains (8%) were more stable at 4C than at 20C. This finding warrants reconsideration of the temperature for the temporary storage of clinical samples for RSV isolation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number679
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr


  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • storage temperature
  • thermal stability
  • virus inactivation
  • virus isolation


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