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J Clin Microbiol. 1986 June; 23(6): 1009–1014.
PMCID: PMC268782

Serum and nasal-wash immunoglobulin G and A antibody response of infants and children to respiratory syncytial virus F and G glycoproteins following primary infection.


An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with immunoaffinity-purified fusion (F) or attachment (G) glycoprotein was used to measure the serum and secretory immune responses of 18 infants and children, 4 to 21 months of age, who underwent primary infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Most of the 10 older individuals (9 to 21 months of age) developed moderate levels of serum and nasal-wash immunoglobin A (IgA) and IgG F and G antibodies. These individuals developed a moderate level of serum or nasal-wash antibodies that neutralized virus infectivity. One of the eight younger individuals (4 to 8 months of age) failed to develop an F antibody response, while three failed to develop a G antibody response. The most notable difference in the responses of the two age groups involved the titer in convalescent sera of G, F, and neutralizing antibodies which were 8- to 10-fold lower in younger individuals. Most of the younger infants failed to develop a rise in serum or nasal-wash neutralizing antibody. It is possible that the presence of maternally derived antibody in the younger infants suppressed the immune response to RSV infection, and that this accounted, in part, for the low level of postinfection antibody titer in this group. This low level and the irregular response of the infants less than 8 months of age may contribute to the severity of their initial infection and may also be responsible, in part, for their failure to develop effective resistance to subsequent reinfection by RSV.

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