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Questions & Answers

AR Isolate Bank

What is the value of the AR Isolate Bank?
The purpose of this bacterial bank is to provide panels of resistant bacteria that can be used to challenge diagnostic devices and new antibiotic agents. The use of the AR Isolate Bank panels will support biotech and diagnostic efforts in researching, designing, and testing clinical assays or newer antimicrobial agents, and will be a valuable resource for manufacturers conducting studies in support of regulatory submissions to FDA. This in turn will support earlier diagnoses and more effective treatment options that can slow antibiotic resistance. The isolates in the bank are also an important resource for in-house validation of diagnostic tests (e.g., validation of new breakpoints or tests that detect resistance mechanisms). This will allow clinical and public health laboratories to bring new AR tests for patient care on-line faster.

Where and how are isolates stored?
The isolates are stored at -70 degrees Celsius in a restricted-access facility in Atlanta, GA. Shipping and handling is also executed with safety and professionalism. Upon receipt, please keep isolates frozen at ultralow temperatures (-70 to -80°C).

Can anyone have access to the isolates?
No. Isolates will only be provided to recognized institutions with confirmed biosafety officers. Each request for isolates will be reviewed by the AR Isolate Bank custodians.

How can my institution have access to the isolates?
Requests for isolates are reviewed by the AR Isolate Bank custodians. Approved requesters are required to provide a FedEx number for shipping. Learn more about how to request isolates by visiting the How to Place an Order page.

Which data are available?
AR Isolate Bank pathogens include information on storage and propagation procedures, biosafety information, MIC results and interpretation, and known resistance mechanisms. An accession link is also provided for those isolates that have been sequenced.

What method is used for isolate identification?
Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight (MALDI-TOF) Mass Spectrometry – MALDI-TOF MS. Identification is supported by Whole Genome Sequencing, when available.

What method is used for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing?
Reference broth microdilution using in-house frozen panels or, agar dilution. Please refer to the panel page for specifics about the panel.

Why are metadata (e.g., the site of infection and geographical origin of the isolate) not included in the isolate information?
Including this information with the isolates would require IRB approval and increase regulatory oversight of the AR Isolate Bank, thereby slowing our ability to add new isolates, with little benefit to the end user. The isolates included in each panel represent new types of resistance and the diversity of resistance. Whenever possible, isolates also represent geographical and temporal diversity. These isolates can be used as challenge organisms for evaluating/validating a medical device. If you think metadata are needed for your testing purpose, please send an email to the AR Isolate Bank and describe why this information is needed.

Are all isolates sequenced?
It is our intention to sequence all isolates but there is often a lag between adding isolates to our AR Isolate Bank inventory and completing sequencing. Isolate sequencing data is added as soon as it becomes available.

Are there any special considerations for resistant isolates?
We have found the plasmid-mediated resistance in some isolates to be relatively unstable, and therefore recommend minimizing passage from frozen stock before testing the isolates. (Plasmids may be lost after more than 2 passages).

Can I order single isolates?
At this time, the only panel for which we also offer single isolate orders is the Isolates with New or Novel Antibiotic Resistance panel. For all others, you can only order entire panels through the website. If you have a request for a single isolate or special order request, please contact us at

What is the cost for the isolates?
There is no cost for the isolate panels, however we do ask that the requestor pay shipping. FedEx number is requested when ordering. If using a different courier, please list courier name on the Shipping Account Field and a representative from the AR Isolate Bank will contact you to provide additional instructions.

How do I find more detail on isolates or panels?
Clicking a link in the Panel column of the All Isolate Panels table will open the Panel Detail page for that panel.


The Panel Detail page lists all isolates contained in the panel, their resistance mechanism(s) and a link to the sequence accession information. Additionally, the antibiogram for the selected panel can be downloaded by clicking on the “Download MIC & gene data” Excel icon.


Clicking on the AR Bank Number for an isolate will open the Isolate Detail page. The Isolate Detail page lists the details for the isolate including: MIC and Interpretation values, resistance mechanisms, and propagation instructions. A link to sequence accession information is available on the isolate Search Results table, Panel Detail page, and Isolate Detail page.


Are there additional Federal resources for isolates?
The Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs) Isolate Bank. An extensive collection of isolates for ABCs pathogens: group A Streptococcus, group B Streptococcus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae. ABCs is a core program within CDC’s Emerging Infections Program (EIP) network. EIP is a collaboration between CDC, state health departments, and academic institutions. ABCs is an active laboratory- and population-based surveillance system for invasive bacterial pathogens of public health importance.

Within the U.S. Military Health System, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) maintains a collection of well-characterized resistant isolates collected from participating military hospitals through its Multidrug-resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN)      . More information and contact information can be found on the MRSN website      .

The Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG) maintains a Virtual Biorepository       that provides investigators with access to clinically well-characterized Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria for the development of diagnostic tests and novel antimicrobial compounds, and for studies evaluating mechanisms of resistance. More information can be found on the ARLG’s website under Virtual Biorepository      .
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Ordering on the AR Isolate Bank

How do I order?
To order a panel, a user must register for an account and submit their order using the AR Isolate Bank website. The requester must complete a set of forms for each order. AR Isolate Bank custodians then review these forms to approve the order. The forms are available on the Required Forms menu in the left navigation bar. To view/download these forms, user must be registered and have an active order.

How do I register for an account?
To register for an account, a user must provide an email and password, their name, and company information. Although new accounts may still be pending approval, the user has the option to place an order at the time of registration. Please use your business email account and phone number to register. Do not use personal accounts or cell phones.

How many panels/isolates can I order?
We are currently limiting the number of panels to no more than five (5) per order. If additional panels are crucial for your project, additional information will be required to process such orders. Please contact to inquire about requirements.

Do you accept international orders?
The AR Isolate Bank does not routinely accept or approve orders from laboratories outside of the United States. This is because we are unable to routinely assess the safety measures implemented by potential recipient laboratories and their ability to safely handle resistant pathogenic bacteria. We can consider requests to ship isolates to public health authorities (ministries of health) in other countries and allow those authorities to share the isolates with laboratories they have identified as suitable recipients. Under these conditions, CDC does not use the agreement forms available on this website; instead we implement a material transfer agreement that is specific to the request being made. If you would like to pursue this option, please contact to inform us of the exact request and provide a contact at the recipient ministry of health office.

How do I find my order’s status and tracking number?
Users that are logged into the site can click on the My Orders menu in the left navigation bar. This page will display a list of their orders and associated status. Clicking the Details link will display a read-only view of their order, including an order summary and the history of each status change for the order.

How soon should I expect to receive communication after submitting an order via the website?
You will receive a confirmation email from the system when your order request is submitted. Once we have received all the requested information from you, we will begin processing the order and shipping the isolates. Please note that our shipping days are Monday-Wednesday (excluding holidays). If you have not received a confirmation email, please contact us at

I ordered the wrong panel/forgot to add a panel to my order. Can I edit my order?
Users cannot edit or cancel their orders. For any change to your request, please contact and please include your order number.

I am a recurrent user of the AR Isolate Bank. Do I need to submit the forms for each new order?
Yes. If you are a recurrent user of the bank and even if your information has not changed, we still need the forms. The approval process for subsequent orders may be quicker.
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Searching for Isolate Panels

How do I search for an isolate?
The Isolate Search page provides many different search criteria. It is best to limit the number of criteria specified in order to see the largest set of results. The isolate search is designed to identify records that match all specified criteria. If you do not get any results, try searching again using fewer criteria.

How do I search for a panel?
On the Homepage, using the “Choose an Isolate Panel” or “Choose a Custom Isolate Panel” dropdown menu, select the panel of interest, then click “Go” to view panel information and the list of isolates that belong to the panel. Alternatively, the “Browse Panels” link on the Homepage or the “All Isolate Panels” menu item located on the left navigation bar will display a table with all the panels in the AR Bank.

What is the difference between panel and custom panel?
Panel refers to an AR Bank set composed of unique isolates. Custom panel is a set assembled using isolates from other existing panels. This approach allows the grouping and ordering of AR Bank isolates with desired attributes, for specific uses. For example, the Fluoroquinolone Pseudomonas aeruginosa Verification Panel is a custom panel composed of isolates from the Delafloxacin, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Ceftolozane/tazobactam, Imipenem/relebactam and Ceftazidime/avibactam panels.

How do I refine my search results?
The Search Results table allows sorting on each column. In addition, the “Search” text box at the top right of the table will filter the results to only those records matching the text entered in the “Search” box. Clicking the “X” in the text box will remove the filter.

Which fields of the isolate records are included in the “Keyword” search?
The “Keyword” search includes isolate additional comments, panel description, panel additional comments, and organism.

Why can’t I enter an MIC or Interpretation value in the search criteria?
The “MIC” and “Interpretation” search criteria fields are disabled until a “Drug” value is selected.
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Order Processing and Shipping

What is the estimated shipping cost?
For 1 to 2 panels, the shipment weight is ~15-20 lbs. (due to dry ice in the shipping container) and please consult FedEx or other appropriate shipping company for the shipping cost of this weight from CDC’s zip code of 30329 to the final destination zip code.

My institution does not have a FedEx account. What other options do we have?
UPS pre-paid labels can be used. Further instructions are given once an order is placed.

How are isolates packed and shipped?
Each isolate is contained in a 2 ml cryovial and stored in cryo/freezer boxes (5x5x2”) with 81 cell dividers.
They are shipped by priority overnight with dry ice.

Do all isolates come in one package?
It depends on how many and what panels are included in the order. One big box can contain about 10–12 panels. The Enteric Pathogen Diversity panel is always packed separately.

Are isolates shipped with any culturing instructions?
Yes, propagation instructions are sent with each shipment. This information is also available for each isolate on the “propagation” tab on the Isolate Detail Page.

How soon should I expect to receive my order?
You should receive your order within 10 business days of approval. Orders will be reviewed and approved after all required paperwork has been submitted. Our shipping days are Monday-Wednesday (excluding holidays). We will do our best to communicate any delays in processing the order.

How do I avoid delays in my order?
Please make sure:

  • There are no blanks on the forms and all pages are returned
  • No cellphones/personal email addresses are used on any of the forms.
  • Extension number is listed if contact phone requires it
  • Requestor and Biosafety official are not the same individual
  • FedEx account numbers are nine digits

I received the isolates. How should I store them?
Please keep isolates frozen at ultralow temperatures (-70 to -80°C). Lower temperatures are acceptable.

What do the different order statuses mean?

Awaiting Required DocumentsOrder has been placed, required forms must be submitted by requestor
Documents VerifiedAR Bank has received the documentation provided and checked completeness of the forms
Order VerifiedAR Bank has verified the information provided on the documents and order is being vetted
Approved for ShippingOrder has been approved and shipping is being processed (1-4 business days based on inventory)
ShippedOrder has been shipped. Tracking information will be available under "My Orders"
DeliveredOrder has been delivered to the requesting facility

Have you published your work using AR Bank isolates?
Share the publication link or DOI with us by email at We will list peer reviewed publications that include AR Bank isolates on the AR Isolate Bank website.

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