SUMMARY: The three virus types derived from the classical WS strain of influenza virus can be distinguished by a relatively wide range of ‘marker’ characters, which are available for the recognition of virus characteristics in studies of variation and recombination. Despite their common origin the three WS strains have diverged very markedly one from another. Each has unique characteristics: NWS its absence of enzymic and indicator activity, its neurotropism; WSE its firm non-eluting adsorption to red cells; WSM its extremely heat-resistant haemagglutinin. From the point of view of the general pathology of virus infection the neurotropic character imposed on an influenza virus is the most important of the variant qualities.


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