Passive Protection of Gnotobiotic Calves Using Monoclonal Antibodies Directed at Different Epitopes on the Fusion Protein of Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus

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Two neutralizing, fusion-inhibiting bovine monoclonal antibodies (MAbs; B4 and B13) directed at different epitopes on the fusion protein of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) protected the lungs of gnotobiotic calves from RSV infection. The MAbs were administered intratracheally 24 h before the calves were challenged with bovine RSV. A third, nonneutralizing, non-fusion-inhibiting but complement-fixing MAb, B1, provided no significant protection against infection, and the disease was not exacerbated. Pneumonic consolidation and mean virus titer in lung 7 days after challenge were significantly lower in calves given the fusion-inhibiting MAbs than in either control calves or those given MAb B1. The proliferative bronchiolitis with syncytial formation and widespread distribution of RSV antigen in the lower respiratory tract of the B1-treated and control calves were indistinguishable and typical of experimental bovine RSV infection. Syncytia were markedly absent, and little or no viral antigen was detected in either the B4- or B13-treated calves.

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