Infection counter: automated quantification of in vitro virus replication by fluorescence microscopy

Siân Culley, Greg J Towers, David L Selwood, Ricardo Henriques, Joe Grove (see publication in Journal )


The ability to accurately and reliably quantify viral infection is essential to basic and translational virology research. Here, we describe a simple and robust automated method for using fluorescence microscopy to estimate the proportion of virally infected cells in a monolayer. We provide details of the automated analysis workflow along with a freely available open-source ImageJ plugin, Infection Counter, for performing image quantification. Using hepatitis C virus (HCV) as an example, we have experimentally verified our method, demonstrating that it is equivalent, if not better, than the established focus-forming assay. Finally, we used Infection Counter to assess the anti-HCV activity of SMBz-CsA, a non-immunosuppressive cyclosporine analogue.