Hybridomas producing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) were prepared. Using Western blot (WB) analysis, the MAbs obtained were divided into two groups, one reacting with the major structural proteins of 61K and 38K, and the other giving negative reactions. Both groups of MAbs, however, reacted specifically with RHDV in ELISA and by immunoperoxidase (IP) and immunofluorescence (IF) tests with infected cells. As demonstrated by WB using RHDV-specific MAbs and a MAb to feline calicivirus (FCV) strain F9, the major structural (capsid) proteins of RHDV and FCV have very similar sizes ( 61K and 38K compared to 62K to 64K and 40K respectively). No cross-reactions of MAbs with proteins of the other virus were observed in WB analysis, ELISA, IP tests or IF. The high specificity and sensitivity of RHDV-specific MAbs make them suitable for the routine IP and IF diagnosis of RHDV in liver cells of rabbits dying after natural or experimental infections.


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