MRC Common Cold Unit, Harvard Hospital, Coombe Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP2 8BW, UK
Department of Pathology, Salisbury Infirmary, Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK
(paper accepted 10 May 1990)
After preliminary trials, the detailed changes in the concentration of specific circulating and local antibodies were followed in 15 volunteers inoculated with coronavirus 229E. Ten of them, who had significantly lower concentrations of preexisting antibody than the rest, became infected and eight of these developed colds. A limited investigation of circulating lymphocyte populations showed some lymphocytopenia in infected volunteers. In this group, antibody concentrations started to increase 1 week after inoculation and reached a maximum about 1 week later. Thereafter antibody titres slowly declined. Although concentrations were still slightly raised 1 year later, this did not always prevent reinfection when volunteers were then challenged with the homologous virus. However, the period of virus shedding was shorter than before and none developed a cold. All of the uninfected group were infected on re-challenge although they also appeared to show some resistance to disease and in the extent of infection. These results are discussed with reference to natural infections with coronavirus and with other infections, such as rhinovirus infections.
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