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WI 38

WI 38

Catalogue No.


Cell Line Name

WI 38

Cell Line Description

From normal embryonic lung of female. Have very broad human virus spectra, especially useful for isolation of rhinoviruses. Cells form multilayered membrane when held for long periods at 37°C with periodic pH adjustments. Used in preparation of human virus vaccines.

Discontinued Message

This cell line is no longer available for purchase.

WI 38 is a finite cell line that reaches senescence at PD50±10. Our cells are approaching senescence and so are not available to buy. An immortalised version of this cell line (WI 38VA13 Subline 2RA, Catalogue No. 85062512) is still available on the Culture Collections website.




Tissue of Origin

Lung (foetal)

DNA profile (STR Profile)

Amelogenin: X
CSF1PO: 10,12
D5S818: 10
D7S820: 9,11
D13S317: 11
D16S539: 11,12
TH01: 8,9.3
vWA: 19,20


2n = 46, diploid except at high passage number


Virus studies (rhinoviruses), vaccine production


None Stated

Culture Conditions

Cell Type


Subculture Routine

Split sub-confluent cultures (70-80%) 1:3 to 1:6 i.e. seeding at 2-4x10,000 cells/cm² using 0.05% trypsin/EDTA; 5% CO₂; 37°C. Finite lifespan, 50 population doublings expected (plus or minus 10) - doubling time approximately 24h.

Culture Medium

EMEM (EBSS) + 2mM Glutamine + 1% Non Essential Amino Acids (NEAA) + 10% Foetal Bovine Serum (FBS).

Growth Mode


Additional Info


Obtained from ATCC

Country of Origin

United States

Hazard Group (ACDP)

Hazard Group (ACDP) 2



Exp Cell Res 1961;25:585; Am J Hyg 1962;75:240


Not specified

Available Formats

  • Frozen

If use of this culture results in a scientific publication, it should be cited in the publication as: WI 38 (ECACC 90020107).

Unless specified otherwise, at ECACC we routinely handle all of our cell lines at containment level 2 in accordance with the ACDP guidelines (Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens) (UK). All cell cultures have the potential to carry as yet unidentified adventitious agents. It is the responsibility of the end user to ensure that their facilities comply with biosafety regulations for their own country. ACDP Guidance: Biological agents: Managing the risks in laboratories and healthcare premises.

The Culture Collections represent deposits of cultures from world-wide sources. While every effort is made to ensure details distributed by Culture Collections are accurate, Culture Collections cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in the data supplied. References where quoted are mainly attributed to the establishment of the cell culture and not for any specific property of the cell line, therefore further references should be obtained regarding cell culture characteristics. Passage numbers where given act only as a guide and Culture Collections does not guarantee the passage number stated will be the passage number received by the customer.

Cultures supplied by Culture Collections are for research purposes only. Enquiries regarding the commercial use of a cell line are referred to the depositor of the cell line. Some cell lines have additional special release conditions such as the requirement for a material transfer agreement to be completed by the potential recipient prior to the supply of the cell line. Please view the Terms & Conditions of Supply for more information.