A durable protective immune response to wild-type measles virus infection of macaques is due to viral replication and spread in lymphoid tissues

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Science Translational Medicine  01 Apr 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 537, eaax7799
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aax7799

Finding clues to life-long immunity

Natural infection with wild-type (WT) measles virus (MeV) induces lifelong immunity, but immunity induced by infection with the live-attenuated measles strain used in the measles vaccine (LAMV) is less durable. To identify differences between WT MeV and LAMV, Lin et al. studied virus replication and immune responses in infected rhesus macaques. Both WT MeV and LAMV replicated well in respiratory epithelial cells. However, although WT MeV replicated well in lymphocytes and spread efficiently through the blood, LAMV did not. WT MeV induced more serum antiviral antibody and bone marrow antibody–secreting cells than did LAMV, suggesting that more efficient virus replication in lymphoid tissue led to a more vigorous immune response.

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