1887

Abstract

A defective interfering (DI) virus differs from the infectious virus from which it originated in having at least one major deletion in its genome. Such DI genomes are replicated only in cells infected with homologous infectious virus and, as their name implies, they interfere with infectious virus replication and reduce the yield of progeny virus. This potent antiviral activity has been abundantly demonstrated in cell culture with many different DI animal viruses, but few examples have been reported, with the notable exception of DI . A clue to this general lack of success arose recently when an anomaly was discovered in which DI solidly protected mice from lethal disease caused by A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) and A/WSN/40 (H1N1) viruses, but protected only marginally from disease caused by A/Japan/305/57 (A/Jap, H2N2). The problem was not any incompatibility between the DI and infectious genomes, as A/Jap replicated the DI RNA . However, A/Jap required 300-fold more mouse infectious units to cause clinical disease than A/PR8 and it was hypothesized that it was this excess of infectivity that abrogated the protective activity of the DI virus. This conclusion was verified by varying the proportions of DI and challenge virus and showing that increasing the DI virus : infectious virus ratio in infected mice resulted in interference. Thus, counter-intuitively, DI virus is most effective against viruses that cause disease with low numbers of particles, i.e. virulent viruses.

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2006-05-01
2019-10-22
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