Treponema pallidum Requests by Commercial Companies

CDC’s Division of STD Prevention is making available a Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum (T. pallidum) strain propagated in rabbits for research and development purposes. The cultures are intended solely for companies developing and/or seeking FDA approval of syphilis diagnostic tests in the United States.

This page provides information on how to obtain T. pallidum cultures from the CDC.

All requests require approval by the CDC Division of STD Prevention Laboratory Branch Chief or designee. A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) between CDC and the requestor is required before cultures will be shipped. CDC will access a usage fee of $200 per vial of culture to recover some of the costs for strain propagation, storage and shipping.

Details on Cultures
  • Each culture is a crude extract and will be provided in 0.5 ml – 1 ml frozen aliquots at a concentration of approximately 104 to 107 treponemes/ml.
  • CDC may provide up to 5 vials per request. If additional vials are required then the order will be fulfilled when stocks are replenished.
  • CDC will assign a CDC Unique Identifier (CUID) to each vial of culture. Any future queries regarding the culture must reference this CUID.
How to Request Cultures
  • Submit a request by sending an e-mail to CDC at for attention of Dr. Allan Pillay.
  • Once CDC confirms that the culture is available, submit a letter on your company letterhead with the following information:
    1. State the purpose for requesting the culture;
    2. State that you agree to pay $200 per vial of T. pallidum culture;
    3. Confirm that your facility can safely work with Biosafety Level 2 pathogens;
    4. Indicate if a live or heat inactivated culture is required; and
    5. Include affiliation and complete contact information of the requestor.
  • Please note that payment is required before shipping of cultures.

Disclaimer: CDC will not be responsible for loss of viability of cultures due to shipping conditions or delays.