Stanford University

Adeno-Associated Virus Fact Sheet

Adeno-associated virus gets its name because it is often found in cells that are simultaneously infected with adenovirus. AAV are Parvoviridae: icosahedral, 20-25 nm in diameter; single stranded DNA genome with a protein capsid. AAV is dependent on the presence of wild type adenovirus or herpesvirus for replication; in the absence of these helper viruses, AAV will stably integrate into the host cell genome. Co-infection with helper virus triggers a lytic cycle as do some agents which appropriately perturb host cells. Wild type AAV integrates preferentially into human chromosome 19q13.3-qter; recombinant vectors lose this specificity and appear to integrate randomly, thereby posing a theoretical risk of insertional mutagenesis.

What are the hazards?

No known pathology for wild type AAV serotype 2.


Not documented definitively. Infection apparently via mouth, esophageal, or intestinal mucosa.

Laboratory Hazards

Ingestion, droplet exposure of the mucous membrane, direct injection; insertional mutagenesis; integration and expression of oncogenes or potential oncogenes.

Laboratory hazards ppe
Exposure of mucus membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) Use of safety goggles or full face shields. Use of appropriate face mask
Injection Use of safety needles; NEVER re-cap needle or remove needle from syringe
Aerosol inhalation Use of appropriate respiratory protection
Direct contact with skin Gloves, lab coat, closed shoes

The above PPE are often required IN ADDITION to working in a certified Biosafety Cabinet.

Susceptibility to disinfectants: Susceptible to 1% sodium hypochlorite, 2% glutaraldehyde, 0.25% sodium dodecyl sulfate

Use in Lab: BSL-1; BSL-2 in the presence of helper virus

Use with Animals: ABSL-1 housing; ABSL-2 housing in the presence of helper virus.


No specific treatment.

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