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The role of serum haemagglutination-inhibiting antibody in protection against challenge infection with influenza A2 and B viruses

  • D. Hobson (a1), R. L. Curry (a1), A. S. Beare (a2) and A. Ward-Gardner (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2009

The intranasal inoculation of volunteers with living partially attenuated strains of influenza A and B viruses offers a new opportunity to determine the protective effect of serum haemagglutin-inhibiting antibody against a strictly homologous virus, under conditions where the time and dosage of the infective challenge can be controlled, the scoring of proven infections can be more precise and higher rates of infection can be achieved than in most natural epidemics.

In 1032 adult volunteers, whose serum HI antibody titre was determined immediately before virus challenge, there was a consistent inverse quantitative relationship between the HI titre and the likelihood of infection. The PD50 (50 % protective dose) of HI antibody was 1/18–1/36, but an unusual finding was that volunteers with no detectable pre-challenge antibody often seem to be less susceptible to infection than those with pre-challenge antibody in low titre.

In one group of volunteers challenged with an influenza B strain there was no evidence that pre-challenge antibody titres against viral neuraminidase had any significant protective effect against challenge infection.

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A. C. Allison (1965). Genetic factors in resistance against virus infections. Archiv für die gesamte Virusforschung 17, 280.

W. J. Bashe , H. Stegmuller , D. Leonida & P. Greenwald (1964). Failure of polyvalent vaccine to provide clinical protection against Asian influenza. New England Journal of Medicine 270, 870.

B. Easterday , W. G. Laver , H. G. Pereira & G. C. Schild (1969). Antigenic composition of recombinant virus strains produced from human and avian influenza viruses. Journal of General Virology 5, 83.

L. Hoyle (1968). The Influenza Viruses, chap. 27. Vienna: Springer-Verlag.

W. G. Laver (1963). The structure of influenza viruses. 3. Disruption of the virus particle and separation of neuraminidase activity. Virology 20, 251.

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