SARS-CoV-2 Cell Lines

Cell-based assays are valuable tools for SARS-CoV-2 research and offer alternative approaches for working with pathogenic viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 in a BSL-2 environment using recombinant viral systems. BEI Resources offers a variety of human and animal cell lines optimized for use in SARS-CoV-2 research through expression of the viral entry protein human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) and optimized with the addition of transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2) or furin, which make them highly susceptible to infection.

These cell lines are ideal for a variety of SARS-CoV-2 assays such as the study of viral entry pathways and binding inhibition, evaluation of viral inhibitors, screening of antiviral compounds, determination of antibody titer, pseudotyped lentivirus production, protein detection and purification assays, neutralization assays, use as cell culture controls and more.

Cell lines undergo 21-day broth and agar sterility testing and are confirmed free of Mycoplasma contamination by Hoechst DNA stain, 14-day broth and agar culture and PCR methods. Multiplex PCR amplification of the cytochrome C oxidase I gene is performed to authenticate host cell origin. ACE2 expression is confirmed in the seed material by indirect fluorescent antibody assay.

Please refer to the Product Information Sheet and Certificate of Analysis for recommended thawing, growth and subculturing conditions and use restrictions for each cell line.


BEI Resources 

SARS-CoV-2 Cell Lines


HEK-293T Cells Expressing hACE2 (HEK-293T-hACE2)1,2,3,4


A549 Cells Expressing hACE2 (HA-FLAG)2,5,6


Vero E6 Cells Expressing High Endogenous ACE21


Vero E6 Cells Expressing TMPRSS2 and hACE2 (Vero E6-TMPRSS2-T2A-ACE2)7


HEK-293T Cells Expressing TMPRSS2, hACE2 and Red Fluorescent Protein [HEK-293T-ACE 2.TMPRSS2 (mCherry)]8


Vero E6 Cells with High Expression of Human Furin (Vero-Furin)


Calu-3 Cells with High Expression of hACE2 [Calu-3 (Clone 2B4)-ACE2]














  1. Cong, Z., et al. "SARS-CoV-2 Spreads through Cell-to-Cell Transmission." bioRxiv (2021): doi: 10.1101/2021.06.01.446579. Online ahead of print. PubMed: 34100011.
  2. Chan, S.-W., T. Shafi and R. C. Ford. "Kite-Shaped Molecules Block SARS-CoV-2 Cell Entry at a Post-Attachment Step." Viruses 13 (2021): 2306. PubMed: 34835112.
  3. Crawford, K. H. D., et al. "Dynamics of Neutralizing Antibody Titers in the Months After Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection." J. Infect. Dis. 223 (2021): 197-205. PubMed: 33535236.
  4. Xia, Z., et al. "Rational Design of Hybrid SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease Inhibitors Guided by the Superimposed Cocrystal Structures with the Peptidomimetic Inhibitors GC-376, Telaprevir, and Boceprevir." ACS Pharmacol. Transl. Sci. 4 (2021): 1408-1421. PubMed: 34414360.
  5. Curreli, F., et al. "Stapled Peptides Based on Human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) Potently Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Infection In Vitro." mBio 11 (2020): e02451-20. PubMed: 33310780.
  6. Prabhakara, C., et al. "Strategies to Target SARS-CoV-2 Entry and Infection Using Mechanisms of Inhibition by Acidification Inhibitors." PLoS Pathog. 17 (2021): e1009706. PubMed: 34252168.
  7. Sievers, B. L., et al. "Antibodies Elicited by SARS-CoV-2 Infection or mRNA Vaccines Have Reduced Neutralizing Activity against Beta and Omicron Pseudoviruses." Sci. Transl. Med. (2022): doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abn7842. Online ahead of print. PubMed: 35025672.
  8. Neerukonda, S. N., et al. "Establishment of a Well-Characterized SARS-CoV-2 Lentiviral Pseudovirus Neutralization Assay Using 293T Cells with Stable Expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2." PLoS One 16 (2021): e0248348. PubMed: 33690649.

Image: Scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 emerging from the surface of a cell (NIAID/CC BY 2.0)

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