Detection and identification of Variola virus in fixed human tissue after prolonged archival storage

Randal J. Schoepp, Michelle D. Morin, Mark J. Martinez, David A. Kulesh, Lisa Hensley, Thomas W. Geisbert, Daniel R. Brady, Peter B. Jahrling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Smallpox disease has been eradicated from the human population since 1979, but is again a concern because of its potential use as an agent of bioterrorism or biowarfare. World Health Organization-sanctioned repositories of infectious Variola virus are known to occur in both Russia and the United States, but many believe other undeclared and unregulated sources of the virus could exist. Thus, validation of improved methods for definitive identification of smallpox virus in diagnostic specimens is urgently needed. In this paper, we describe the discovery of suspected Variola infected human tissue, fixed and preserved for decades in largely unknown solutions, and the use of routine histology, electron microscopy, and ultimately DNA extraction and fluorogenic 5′ nuclease (TaqMan®) assays for its identification and confirmation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA extraction
  • Fixed tissue
  • Paraffin-embedded
  • Smallpox
  • TaqMan®
  • Variola virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Detection and identification of Variola virus in fixed human tissue after prolonged archival storage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this