Institute of Molecular Virology, Ulm University Medical Centre, Ulm, Germany
Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) represents a novel γ-retrovirus that is capable of infecting human cells and has been classified as BSL-2 organism. Hence XMRV represents a potential risk for personnel in laboratories worldwide. Here, we measured the stability of XMRV and its susceptibility to alcohol-based disinfectants. To this end, we exposed an infectious XMRV reporter virus encoding a secretable luciferase to different temperatures, pH values or disinfectants, and infected XMRV permissive Raji B cells to measure residual viral infectivity. We found that one minute treatment of XMRV particles at 60°C is sufficient to reduce infectivity by 99.9%. Maximum XMRV infectivity was obtained at a neutral pH but was reduced by 86% at pH 4 or 99.9% at pH 10. The common hand and surface disinfectants ethanol and isopropanol as well as the cell fixation reagent paraformaldeyhde abrogated XMRV infectivity entirely as indicated by a reduction of infectivity exceeding 99.99%. Our findings provide evidence-based means to inactivate XMRV. Their applications will help to prevent unintended XMRV contamination of cell cultures in laboratories and minimize the risk for laboratory personnel and healthcare workers to become infected with this biosafety level 2 organism.