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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Jul;87(14):5558-62.

Vaccination with a live retrovirus: the nature of the protective immune response.

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  • 1Division of Cancer Pharmacology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA.


We tested 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (zidovudine) combined with interferon alpha as chemoprophylaxis after exposing mice to Rauscher murine leukemia virus. Therapy started 4 hr after inoculation and administered for 20 days prevented viremia and disease in all 234 mice tested. When the animals were rechallenged with live virus after cessation of therapy, 96% were resistant. The nature of this protective immune response was analyzed: Passive serotherapy of naive mice challenged subsequently with Rauscher murine leukemia virus was only protective at a high dose of immune serum. Immune, but not naive, T cells alone were fully protective against virus challenge. We conclude that vaccination with a live retrovirus that cannot replicate because of pharmacological blockade induces a T-cell response capable of protecting against a lethal retrovirus-induced disease.

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