Using an ELISA for the detection of virus-specific immune complexes, ten cows were found to be shedding bovine enteric coronavirus. The shedding patterns from five of these animals were followed for a period of 12 weeks, and all were found to be chronically shedding virus. Despite the presence of both faecal and serum antibody the infection was not cleared; therefore, the role of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) was investigated by immunosuppressing the chronically shedding cows with dexamethasone. No major role for CMI in maintaining the chronic infection could be determined, although immunosuppression did result in a temporary reduction in the shedding of virus-specific immune complexes.

Keyword(s): antibody , coronavirus and cows

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