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Vaccinia virus


This product requires a VS 16-6A permit, which can be downloaded at the USDA website here. Please submit the completed permit form to [email protected] with your ATCC sales order number and/or your purchase number noted in the subject line and body of the email.

Product category
Product type
Animal virus
Poxviridae, Orthopoxvirus
Strain designation
Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)
Isolation source
Attenuated vaccine strain.
Product format
Storage conditions
-70°C or colder
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ATCC determines the biosafety level of a material based on our risk assessment as guided by the current edition of Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is your responsibility to understand the hazards associated with the material per your organization’s policies and procedures as well as any other applicable regulations as enforced by your local or national agencies.

ATCC highly recommends that appropriate personal protective equipment is always used when handling vials. For cultures that require storage in liquid nitrogen, it is important to note that some vials may leak when submersed in liquid nitrogen and will slowly fill with liquid nitrogen. Upon thawing, the conversion of the liquid nitrogen back to its gas phase may result in the vial exploding or blowing off its cap with dangerous force creating flying debris. Unless necessary, ATCC recommends that these cultures be stored in the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen rather than submersed in liquid nitrogen.

Detailed product information


Mycoplasma contamination
Not detected

Handling information

Alternate Host(s): BHK-21 (ATCC CCL-10)
cell death; cell rounding; CPE
Complete medium
DMEM (ATCC® 30-2002™) + 5% FBS (ATCC® 30-2021™) + 5% TPB
2-6 days at 37°C
Recommendation for infection
For best results cells should be seeded at 5 x 104 cells/sq cm and infected when 80-90% confluent.
Handling notes
VR-1566 was derived from the same CEF-passaged seed stock as was VR-1508, but VR-1566 was maintained in CEF cells (ATCC® # CRL-1590).  The passage history of the MVA strain is complex (see Mayr & Stickl (1975)).  The MVA Ankara strain has been passaged hundreds of times in CEF cells and does not replicate in human cells or the majority of mammalian cells.  This is a highly attenuated strain of vaccinia that some experts feel can be handled safely by trained personnel without the need for vaccination.  This strain has been sequenced (Genbank U94848).

Key abbreviations
AB, Antibody
BHK-21, Hamster kidney cell line
CEF, Chicken embryo fibroblast cells
CO2, Carbon dioxide
CPE, Cytopathic effect
CVA, Chorioallantoic vaccinia Ankara
DMEM, Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium
DNA, Deoxyribonucleic acid
FBS, Fetal bovine serum
mL, Milliliter
MVA,  Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara
NIH, National Institutes of Health
PCR, Polymerase chain reaction
TC, Tissue culture
TPB, Tryptose phosphate broth
TCID[50], Median tissue culture infective dose


Deposited as
Vaccinia virus
LS Wyatt, B Moss, A Mayr
Cross references
GenBank U94848 Vaccinia virus strain Ankara, complete genomic sequence

Legal disclaimers

Intended use
This product is intended for laboratory research use only. It is not intended for any animal or human therapeutic use, any human or animal consumption, or any diagnostic use.

The product is provided 'AS IS' and the viability of ATCC® products is warranted for 30 days from the date of shipment, provided that the customer has stored and handled the product according to the information included on the product information sheet, website, and Certificate of Analysis. For living cultures, ATCC lists the media formulation and reagents that have been found to be effective for the product. While other unspecified media and reagents may also produce satisfactory results, a change in the ATCC and/or depositor-recommended protocols may affect the recovery, growth, and/or function of the product. If an alternative medium formulation or reagent is used, the ATCC warranty for viability is no longer valid.  Except as expressly set forth herein, no other warranties of any kind are provided, express or implied, including, but not limited to, any implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, manufacture according to cGMP standards, typicality, safety, accuracy, and/or noninfringement.


This product is intended for laboratory research use only. It is not intended for any animal or human therapeutic use, any human or animal consumption, or any diagnostic use. Any proposed commercial use is prohibited without a license from ATCC.

While ATCC uses reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information on this product sheet, ATCC makes no warranties or representations as to its accuracy. Citations from scientific literature and patents are provided for informational purposes only. ATCC does not warrant that such information has been confirmed to be accurate or complete and the customer bears the sole responsibility of confirming the accuracy and completeness of any such information.

This product is sent on the condition that the customer is responsible for and assumes all risk and responsibility in connection with the receipt, handling, storage, disposal, and use of the ATCC product including without limitation taking all appropriate safety and handling precautions to minimize health or environmental risk. As a condition of receiving the material, the customer agrees that any activity undertaken with the ATCC product and any progeny or modifications will be conducted in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and guidelines. This product is provided 'AS IS' with no representations or warranties whatsoever except as expressly set forth herein and in no event shall ATCC, its parents, subsidiaries, directors, officers, agents, employees, assigns, successors, and affiliates be liable for indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any kind in connection with or arising out of the customer's use of the product. While reasonable effort is made to ensure authenticity and reliability of materials on deposit, ATCC is not liable for damages arising from the misidentification or misrepresentation of such materials.

Please see the material transfer agreement (MTA) for further details regarding the use of this product. The MTA is available at

Permits & Restrictions

United States Veterinary Permit for Importation and Transportation of Controlled Materials and Organisms and Vectors

For every order of this item, you must provide a valid Permit for Importation and Transportation of Controlled Materials and Organisms and Vectors (VS Form 16-6A) obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. We cannot ship this item until we receive this permit.

Import Permit for the State of Hawaii

If shipping to the U.S. state of Hawaii, you must provide either an import permit or documentation stating that an import permit is not required. We cannot ship this item until we receive this documentation. Contact the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), Plant Industry Division, Plant Quarantine Branch to determine if an import permit is required.


Frequently Asked Questions


Curated Citations

Antoine G, et al. The complete genomic sequence of the modified vaccinia Ankara strain: comparison with other orthopoxviruses. Virology 244: 365-396, 1998. PubMed: 9601507

Sutter G, Moss B. Nonreplicating vaccinia vector efficiently expresses recombinant genes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89: 10847-10851, 1992. PubMed: 1438287

Meyer H, et al. Mapping of deletions in the genome of the highly attenuated vaccinia virus MVA and their influence on virulence. J. Gen. Virol. 72: 1031-1038, 1991. PubMed: 2033387

Mahnel H, Mayr A. Experiences with immunization against orthopox viruses of humans and animals using vaccine strain MVA. Berlin Munch. Tierarztl. Wochenschr. 107: 253-256, 1994.

Mayr A, et al. Abstammung, eigenschafter und verwendung des attenuierten vaccinia-stammes. Infection 3: 6-14, 1975.

View All Curated Citations for this Product

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