Treponema pallidum Requests by Commercial Companies

At a glance

Information on ordering T. pallidum cultures from the CDC for research and development purposes.

Details on Cultures

CDC makes 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.
  5. Include affiliation and complete contact information of the requestor.

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.