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Viruses 2018, 10(2), 73; doi:10.3390/v10020073

Antibody Responses to Marburg Virus in Egyptian Rousette Bats and Their Role in Protection against Infection

1
Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases of the National Health Laboratory Service, Sandringham, Johannesburg 2131, South Africa
2
Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
3
Centre for Viral Zoonoses, Department of Medical Virology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
4
Division Virology and Communicable Diseases Surveillance, School of Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Advances in Ebolavirus, Marburgvirus, and Cuevavirus Research)
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Abstract

Egyptian rousette bats (ERBs) are reservoir hosts for the Marburg virus (MARV). The immune dynamics and responses to MARV infection in ERBs are poorly understood, and limited information exists on the role of antibodies in protection of ERBs against MARV infection. Here, we determine the duration of maternal immunity to MARV in juvenile ERBs, and evaluate the duration of the antibody response to MARV in bats naturally or experimentally infected with the virus. We further explore whether antibodies in previously naturally exposed bats is fully protective against experimental reinfection with MARV. Maternal immunity was lost in juvenile ERBs by 5 months of age. Antibodies to MARV remained detectable in 67% of experimentally infected bats approximately 4 months post inoculation (p.i.), while antibodies to MARV remained present in 84% of naturally exposed bats at least 11 months after capture. Reinfection of seropositive ERBs with MARV produced an anamnestic response from day 5 p.i. Although PCR-defined viremia was present in 73.3% of reinfected ERBs, replicating virus was recovered from the serum of only one bat on day 3 p.i. The negative PCR results in the salivary glands, intestines, bladders and reproductive tracts of reinfected bats, and the apparent absence of MARV in the majority of swabs collected from these bats suggest that reinfection may only play a minor role in the transmission and maintenance of MARV amongst ERBs in nature. View Full-Text
Keywords: Marburg virus; Egyptian rousette bat; antibody response; maternal immunity; immune duration; reinfection; viral shedding; South Africa Marburg virus; Egyptian rousette bat; antibody response; maternal immunity; immune duration; reinfection; viral shedding; South Africa
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Storm, N.; Jansen Van Vuren, P.; Markotter, W.; Paweska, J.T. Antibody Responses to Marburg Virus in Egyptian Rousette Bats and Their Role in Protection against Infection. Viruses 2018, 10, 73.

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