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Primary isolate is a pure microbial or viral sample that has been obtained from an infected individual, rather than grown in a laboratory. In chemistry and bacteriology, the verb isolate means to obtain a pure chemical, bacteriological or viral sample. The noun 'isolate' refers to the sample itself.

According to the 'Bulletin of Experimental Treatments for AIDS, Year-End, 1999' glossary,[1] a primary isolate is "HIV taken from an infected individual, as opposed to that grown in a laboratory."

Primary isolate is also used to describe functions available with certain pipeline valves used in the petroleum and natural gas industries: "DFB Series Integral Block & Bleed Ball Valve...A range of flanged ball valves with the option of Primary Isolate, Primary Isolate & Vent & Primary & Secondary Isolate & Vent."[2]