By maintaining L cells in a balanced salt solution of inorganic salts and glucose (BSS) for 2 days or more, they are rendered incapable of supporting the growth of psittacosis virus (6BC), though it infects such cells and is present intracellularly for as long as 3 days in a non-infectious phase. The addition of an enriched medium to such a culture of cells at any time up to 4 days after infection results in the appearance of infectious virus within these cells, which multiplies and is released from the cells, providing the entire period of exposure of such cells to the BSS does not exceed 6 days, following which the cells die. A latent infection with psittacosis virus in a non-infectious phase has been established in a pure line of cells which possess properties of malignancy.

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