Introduction. The family is large and diverse, with members producing disease in man, domestic animals and even insects. Picornavirus infections represent good examples of antibody-mediated immunity in protection and recovery from acute infections. T lymphocyte-mediated immunity is being studied increasingly, both from the viewpoint of providing immunological help for the B lymphocyte response and its role in the immunopathology seen in some chronic picornavirus infections. Impetus for the study of antigenic sites on these viruses has come from the desire to develop peptide-based vaccines, which would be both safer and more convenient than currently available attenuated virus preparations.

Antibody recognition sites on picornaviruses. Fig. 1 shows the relationship between different picornaviruses based on the nucleotide similarity in the P1 region. There is a considerable degree of sequence identity (usually > 50%) in this region between different members of the same genus (Stanway, 1990).


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