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MRC-5 cell

MRC-5 (Medical Research Council cell strain 5) is a diploid cell culture line composed of fibroblasts, originally developed from the lung tissue of a 14-week-old aborted Caucasian male fetus.[1][2] The cell line was isolated by J.P. Jacobs and colleagues in September 1966 from the seventh population doubling of the original strain, and MRC-5 cells themselves are known to reach senescence in around 45 population doublings.[2][3][4]


MRC-5 cells are currently used to produce several vaccines including for hepatitis A, varicella and polio.[5]

Culture and society[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-vaccination and anti-abortion activists believed that MRC-5 was an ingredient of the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, citing a study from the University of Bristol. David Matthews, a co-author for this study, clarified that MRC-5 was solely used for testing purposes to determine "how the Oxford vaccine behaves when it is inside a genetically normal human cell."[6] The manufacturing of the vaccine used the HEK 293 fetal cell line, the kidney cells of an aborted female fetus, though the cells are filtered out of the final product.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MRC-5 (ATCC® CCL-171™)". Retrieved 2016-05-19.
  2. ^ a b "AG05965-D Fibroblast from Skin, Lung". Retrieved 2016-05-19.
  3. ^ Jacobs, J. P.; Jones, C. M.; Baille, J. P. (1970). "Characteristics of a Human Diploid Cell Designated MRC-5". Nature. 227 (5254): 168–70. doi:10.1038/227168a0. PMID 4316953.
  4. ^ Jacobs, J. P. (1976). "The Status of Human Diploid Cell Strain MRC-5 as an Approved Substrate for the Production of Viral Vaccines". Journal of Biological Standardization. 4 (2): 97–99. doi:10.1016/0092-1157(76)90018-4. PMID 932048.
  5. ^ "Fact-checking Congress's fetal tissue report".
  6. ^ a b Kim, Noah Y. (November 18, 2020). "The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine does not contain aborted fetal tissue". Politifact. Retrieved October 8, 2021.

External links[edit]