Culture Collections

Using cell lines in virology

The development and mass production of vaccines results in researchers requiring large quantities of viruses or bacteria. While bacteria can be grown in a laboratory environment providing they have a suitable growth medium and conditions, viruses require living cells to infect in order to replicate; resulting in difficulties for laboratories.

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Rare Salmonella serotype deposited into the NCTC

Earlier this year, scientists from Public Health England’s Gastrointestinal Bacteria Reference Unit and collaborators described the first known outbreak of Salmonella Adjame which occurred in 2017 in London, UK. The strains are now deposited in our collection as NCTC 14246NCTC 14247 and NCTC 14248.

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Twenty years serving the virology community

The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses was established in 1999, with funding from the Wellcome Trust, for the benefit of developing and testing of vaccines and antiviral compounds. Our remit is to identify, preserve and provide relevant pathogenic viruses for the scientific community. 

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Why Choose Us?

Public Health England (PHE) is the custodian of four unique collections that consist of expertly preserved, authenticated cell lines and microbial strains of known provenance for use in medical science and laboratory healthcare.

All the collections are developed, managed and maintained by highly trained, dedicated staff who work in accordance with internationally recognised quality standards including certification to ISO 9001:2015.

Cultures from the collections are used by scientists who need to reassure themselves and others that the materials they are using are authentic, so the conclusions to their studies are valid and relevant. This is particularly important where research may lead to peer-reviewed publications, for example, in drug discovery and vaccine efficacy studies. Authenticated reference strains are also of paramount importance for clinical diagnostic testing, food, water and environmental microbiology testing and validation studies.

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ECACC ICON Small size

Cell lines

The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) maintains and supplies cell lines and their derivatives such as DNA, RNA and cDNA.



NCTC ICON small size


The National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) maintains and supplies over 5,000 bacteria and mycoplasma strains.



NCPV ICON small size


The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV) maintains and supplies over 700 viruses and viral nucleic acid.



NCPF ICON small size


The National Collection of Pathogenic Fungi (NCPF) maintains and supplies over 4000 fungal strains.


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