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HeLa cells dangerous? - (Nov/09/2018 )

Hi everyone,


I am a little paranoid and need help answering my question about how dangerous HeLa cells are.

Today I was lysing my HeLa cells using 27G syringe, I stabbed myself on the needle while doing my last sample, it was a sample where there was no any infection or any treatment, simply just HeLa cells in 20mM HEPES buffer.

Should I be worried? Considering HeLa cells do carry some of HPV, but I guess not the virus particle and I guess injecting just from the needle should no be a problem but I am so worried.


Please share your opinions.


Thanks a lot!


An on-line forum is not the place to seek help with your occupational exposure. Please report this to your supervisor/PI and contact your institution’s health and safety office.  You will not be the first person to have stuck yourself with a needle and there are procedures they will follow to get you the help you may need- if you need any. I claim no medical expertise, but I recommend you go to those who do.  And don’t wait and worry yourself crazy- just report and follow procedures; you'll feel better just from taking some action.


OldCloner's advice is the correct route to go. Needle stick injuries are something most institutions take lightly -so please contact your local Health and Safety office.


Having said that, HeLa do not shed HPV and the cells are foreign to your immune system (most likely, unless you happen to be a very close relative of Henrietta Lacks), so your immune system should remove them fairly rapidly. One caveat to that is if you are immune-suppressed in any manner (HIV+, undergoing cancer therapy, transplant recipient...etc) then you have a non-zero risk of your immune system not functioning properly and failing to remove the cells but this is very very unlikely.


Thank you for your kind answer bob1. I understand what you said.
To OldCloner - yes, I did report it, I’m a responsible person and if I talk about it here doesn’t mean this was the first place to discuss it, I don’t know why people like to be mean or if being mean made you feel better about yourself but this is not the way to talk to another person, specially not for the first time and specially not to the person who ask for some advice. If you did not have anything better to say you did not have to reply at all. I believe online forum is also not a place to seek help for your experiment but we do have forums like this, it’s for people sharing experiences and knowledge.


Dear itmaybe,

I'm sorry if my reply seemed abrupt but it was made in a sincere attempt to help, not criticize.  You had not mentioned reporting it, so I was trying to reassure you that if you did, you would probably feel less paranoid (your own word). Hopefully your institution was able to get you whatever help or reassurance you needed.  Plenty of people are too scared or embarrassed to report such incidents, and in case that pertained to you, I gave appropriate advice.