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Virology. 2004 Aug 15;326(1):130-9.

Andes virus M genome segment is not sufficient to confer the virulence associated with Andes virus in Syrian hamsters.

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Department of Molecular Virology, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD 21702, USA.


Sin Nombre virus (SNV) and Andes virus (ANDV), members of the genus Hantavirus, in the family Bunyaviridae, are causative agents of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in North and South America, respectively. Although ANDV causes a lethal HPS-like disease in hamsters, SNV, and all other HPS-associated hantaviruses that have been tested, cause asymptomatic infections of laboratory animals, including hamsters. In an effort to understand the pathogenicity of ANDV in the hamster model, we generated ANDV/SNV reassortant viruses. Plaque isolation of viruses from cell cultures infected with both parental viruses yielded only one type of stable reassortant virus: large (L) and small (S) segments of SNV and M segment of ANDV. This virus, designated SAS reassortant virus, had in vitro growth and plaque morphology characteristics similar to those of ANDV. When injected into hamsters, the SAS reassortant virus was highly infectious and elicited high-titer, ANDV-specific neutralizing antibodies; however, the virus did not cause HPS and was not lethal. These data indicate that the ANDV M genome segment is not sufficient to confer the lethal HPS phenotype associated with ANDV.

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