Virus Cultivation- Purposes and Methods


Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that depend on living host cells for their survival and replication. Unlike bacteria, they cannot be grown on artificial media or agar plates alone. Therefore, virus cultivation requires special techniques that involve the use of whole organisms, animal tissues, embryonated eggs, or cell cultures.

The primary purposes of virus cultivation are:

  • To isolate and identify viruses in clinical samples. Demonstration of virus in appropriate clinical specimens by culture establishes diagnosis of viral diseases.
  • To do research on viral structure, replication, genetics, and effects on host cell. Virus cultivation allows the study of various aspects of viral biology and pathogenesis.
  • To prepare viruses for vaccine production. Virus cultivation is essential for the development and manufacture of vaccines against viral diseases.

Virus cultivation can be done in vivo (within a living organism) or in vitro (outside a living organism in an artificial environment). In vivo methods involve the inoculation of viruses into susceptible animals or plants and observing the signs of infection or disease. In vitro methods involve the inoculation of viruses into suitable cells or tissues grown in culture media and detecting the viral growth by various methods.

In this article, we will discuss the different methods of virus cultivation in vitro, focusing on animal inoculation, embryonated eggs, and tissue culture techniques. We will also describe the advantages and disadvantages of each method and the types of viruses that can be cultivated by them.