Infection of human embryo fibroblasts with hepatitis A virus (HAV), a picornavirus, leads to an inapparent, persistent infection; cultures can be passed serially with consistent recovery of the virus in the supernatant. All of the cells of a HAV carrier culture are infected and proliferate. Subcultivation under HAV-immune serum cannot achieve a cure or even a reduction in the number of infected cells in HAV carrier cultures. No interferon activity can be detected during HAV infection and persistence. Addition of exogenous interferon eliminates HAV infection . Persistence of HAV appears to contradict the clinical course of HAV infection . The system presented offers the possibility of evaluating the role of immunological injury of HAV-infected cells, an injury which may lead to damage of these cells and to elimination of HAV during an HAV infection .


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