Monospecific antisera were prepared in mice to human coronavirus OC43 and neonatal calf diarrhoea coronavirus (NCDCV) which had been previously adapted to growth in suckling mouse brain. Brain suspension from infected suckling mice was used as immunogen. The antigenic relationship between OC43 and NCDCV was studied by the indirect immunoperoxidase antibody technique, by the haemagglutination-inhibition (HI) test and a new infectious centre-reduction neutralization test. In mouse immune sera, a two-way cross-reaction between OC43 and NCDCV was detected. However, the antigenic relationship appeared to be closer for internal (as shown by immunoperoxidase staining) as compared to surface antigens (as shown by HI and neutralization). In primary infections of natural hosts there was a high degree of cross-reactivity between the two coronavirus strains for both surface and internal antigens, and homologous and heterologous titres were consistently within an eightfold dilution difference by all tests. Most human adults and calves had antibody to both OC43 and NCDCV and geometric mean titres of homologous antibody were higher than titres of heterologous antibody. Although OC43 and NCDCV share antigenic determinants, they possessed several different biological properties, including plaque morphology by the infectious centre assay, agglutination of 1-day-old chick erythrocytes and resistance of haemagglutinin to physical and chemical treatments.


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