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SARS-CoV-2 Pseudotyped Virus

Mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection remain poorly understood but are critical for developing therapeutic strategies to prevent viral spread. As a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) agent, SARS-CoV-2 requires specialized facilities for the study of the live virus. Alternatively, it is possible to generate pseudovirus, where the structural and functional components of one virus (such as HIV, murine leukemia virus, and vesicular stomatitis virus G) are packaged as replication-defective virus particles with the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein on the envelope surface. Pseudotyped virus particles can then be used to infect permissive cells that express ACE2, the cellular receptor for SARS-CoV-2, in a single round of viral entry and infection. This approach allows researchers to safely study mechanisms of infection and to determine methods of neutralizing the virus or reducing its infective potential.

The following types of viral particles have been pseudotyped with the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein and you will find examples of each in Addgene's collection:

  • HIV-based lentiviral particles
  • Murine leukemia-based retroviral particles
  • Vesicular stomatitis virus particles

See Addgene's Viral Plasmids and Resources page for more information.

Plasmids Expressing Spike and Spike Variants

Full-length wildtype SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is inefficient for pseudotyping; several modifications may enhance infectious particle production, including codon optimization, deletion of the C-terminal 18-21 amino acids and a D614G change which is present in many circulating variants. The table below lists expression plasmids that are suitable for generating pseudotyped virus for SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses using appropriate packaging plasmids. Use the search bar to find a particular viral spike protein (MERS, CoV-1, CoV-2), modification, or variant.

pBOB-CAG-SARS-CoV2-Spike-HA (Addgene plasmid #141347) is available in standard format and as a Lentiviral prep.

ID Plasmid Description Mutations Industry PI

Due to export control regulations, MERS and SARS-CoV materials are available only in the US at this time.

Accessory Plasmids

Envelope and Packaging Plasmids

Reporter Plasmids

A few examples of reporter plasmids that can be used for measuring infectivity and neutralizing activity are listed below:

Other Resources


Addgene Blog Posts

Addgene COVID-19 Resources and Collections

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Do you have suggestions for other plasmids that should be added to this list?

Fill out our Suggest a Plasmid form or e-mail [email protected] to help us improve this resource!