I need to know which virus meets the following criteria:

  1. It has to be enveloped.
  2. It has to have a DNA packaging scheme similar to Adenovirus (basically, sticks most of itself together then draws in the DNA like the way a human eats a noodle).
  3. It can’t infect humans (for obvious reasons).
  4. It has to be easily propagated, either in a microbe such as ecoli or in embryonic chicken eggs.
  5. It has to be virus stock that can be easily derived or purchased.
  6. It has to be BSL1 rated

Avian adenovirus met all but the sixth criteria, unfortunately.

Is there something else that you are aware of that would meet those criteria? It does not even have to be in a particular family.


2 Answers 2


While Phages (as in Acvill's answer) are probably the most tractable and safest option, another option would be insect viruses of the family Baculoviridae

  1. Enveloped
  2. dsDNA
  3. Incapable of infecting humans or plants, generally species/genus specific I think
  4. BSL-1 use in general (see classifications of some recombinant viral vectors here; note that 1* indicates parent virus containment level)
  5. you can buy baculovirus expression systems from a range of companies and suppliers.
  6. Easily propagable in common insect cell lines.

Consider the dsRNA bacteriophage Φ6, which has been used as a surrogate virus to study Ebola and SARS-CoV-2.

  1. Φ6 is enveloped.
  2. During Φ6 assembly, an NTPase recognizes pac sequences and sequentially packages three ssRNA segments into the capsid; minus strand synthesis then occurs after plus strand packaging. See figure 6 from Mindich 2004 for a helpful schematic.
  3. Φ6 is a Pseudomonas phage and cannot infect human cells.
  4. Φ6 is readily propagated on Pseudomonas sp. DSM 21482, which itself is a Risk Group 1 organism (German equivalent of BSL1).
  5. You can purchase Φ6 from DSMZ.
  6. Like its host, Φ6 is in Risk Group 1.
  • $\begingroup$ Not saying this isn't the right choice (because phages were my first thought too), but phi6 isn't enveloped and is RNA rather than DNA $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ Is Phi6 not enveloped? This paper says it is: nature.com/articles/s41598-020-79625-z $\endgroup$
    – acvill
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ huh, I thought none of the phages were - turns out I'm wrong. Looks like only the Cystovirus genus is though. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 23:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Excellent - thank you to everybody! Yes this paper mdpi.com/1422-0067/19/3/790/htm also says Phi6 is enveloped. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 8:52

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