Neonatal ferrets are protected against infection with influenza virus by milk-derived anti-influenza virus IgG after suckling on an immune mother. Live vaccines protect better than killed vaccines despite their stimulation of lower maternal haemagglutination-inhibiting antibody levels. This suggests that antibody to virus proteins other than the haemagglutinin may also be involved. To investigate this, adult ferrets were immunized intradermally with live vaccinia-influenza virus recombinants each expressing one of the 10 influenza virus polypeptides. Adult ferrets immunized with a recombinant expressing the H3 haemagglutinin were completely protected, and also passively protected their offspring, against a live challenge with clone 7a of the reassortant influenza virus A/Puerto Rico/8/34-A/England/939/69 (H3N2), immunity being mediated by IgG antibody. However, ferrets immunized similarly with recombinants expressing the H1 haemagglutinin, neuraminidase (N1 or N2), polymerases (PB1, PB2 or PAC), matrix protein (M1 or M2), nucleoprotein (NP) or non-structural proteins (NS1 or NS2) were completely susceptible to the influenza virus.


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