SEVERAL investigators have assayed sera of non-human primates for antibody to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Gerber and Birch1 reported the widespread distribution of complement-fixing antibody derived from the chimpanzee, baboon, rhesus and African green monkey. In a subsequent study, Gerber and Rosenblum2 reported that many rhesus monkeys bled within 4 days of capture were also EBV seropositive, but Henle and Henle3 had previously failed to demonstrate EBV antibody using the indirect immunofluorescence method in sera from the chimpanzee, baboon and rhesus monkey. Two of 4 baboons, however, inoculated in our laboratory with 108 EB3 cells were found by the Henles3 to have low levels of antibody 4-8 weeks after exposure. Landon and Malan4 have reported the presence of EBV antibody in rhesus and cynomolgus monkeys at birth. This antibody disappeared after 8-10 months, although sera from the mothers of these animals remained positive. Levy et al.5 were able to demonstrate antibody in 2 of 3 chimpanzees bled immediately after capture in the jungle. The number of animals used, species and geographic distribution, and finally the lack of history on the animals involved in all of these studies, plus the need for a suitable experimental host system, suggested that additional studies were worth pursuing.
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