“This is important news of international relevance.
“It means there are more possibilities to understand and study the virus, in order to contain it,” said Italy’s health minister, Roberto Speranza.
Experts are already racing to develop a vaccine.
Isolating the virus means obtaining a pure microbial sample from an infected person rather than growing it in a laboratory.
Two cases have already been confirmed in Italy, affecting Chinese tourists infected in their home country.
The researchers said they had been able to isolate the virus within 48 hours of the diagnosis, according to the Ansa news agency.
Several days ago, Australian scientists managed to grow the coronavirus in a laboratory.