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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Usage of FTA (R) Classic Cards for Safe Storage, Shipment, and Detection of Arboviruses

Krambrich, Janina; Bringeland, Emelie; Hesson, Jenny C.; Hoffman, Tove; Lundkvist, Ake; Lindahl, Johanna F.; Ling, Jiaxin


Infections caused by arthropod-borne RNA viruses are overrepresented among emerging infectious diseases. Effective methods for collecting, storing, and transporting clinical or biological specimens are needed worldwide for disease surveillance. However, many tropical regions where these diseases are endemic lack analytical facilities and possibility of continuous cold chains, which presents challenges from both a biosafety and material preservation perspective. Whatman (R) FTA (R) Classic Cards may serve as an effective and safe option for transporting hazardous samples at room temperature, particularly for RNA viruses classified as biosafety level (BSL) 2 and 3 pathogens, from sampling sites to laboratories. In this study, we investigated the biosafety and perseverance of representative alpha-and flaviviruses stored on FTA (R) cards. To evaluate the virus inactivation capacity of FTA (R) cards, we used Sindbis virus (SINV), chikungunya virus (CHIKV), and Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). We inoculated susceptible cells with dilution series of eluates from viral samples stored on the FTA (R) cards and observed for cytopathic effect to evaluate the ability of the cards to inactivate viruses. All tested viruses were inactivated after storage on FTA (R) cards. In addition, we quantified viral RNA of JEV, SINV, and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) stored on FTA (R) cards at 4 degrees C, 25 degrees C, and 37 degrees C for 30 days using two reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR assays. Viral RNA of SINV stored on FTA (R) cards was not reduced at either 4 degrees C or 25 degrees C over a 30-day period, but degraded rapidly at 37 degrees C. For JEV and TBEV, degradation was observed at all temperatures, with the most rapid degradation occurring at 37 degrees C. Therefore, the use of FTA (R) cards provides a safe and effective workflow for the collection, storage, and analysis of BSL 2- and 3-virus RNA samples, but there is a risk of false negative results if the cards are stored at higher temperatures for long periods of time. Conscious usage of the cards can be useful in disease surveillance and research, especially in tropical areas where transportation and cold chains are problematic.


biosafety; flavivirus; alphavirus; arboviruses; FTA (R) Classic Card; RNA stability

Published in

2022, Volume: 10, number: 7, article number: 1445
Publisher: MDPI

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Infectious Medicine

    Publication identifier


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