Serum antibodies to the fusion (F) and large glycoprotein (G) of respiratory syncytial virus in the serum of 57 infected infants were measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Most serum samples taken at the time of admission to hospital contained antibodies to both glycoproteins, and overall there was no significant evidence of a selective deficiency of antibody to either viral antigen. Less than a quarter of the infants showed rising IgG antibody titres to either glycoprotein after infection, whereas over threequarters produced an IgM response. There was a significant correlation between IgG response to viral glycoproteins and the age of the infant. The correlation of age with the IgM response was less pronounced, and there was no correlation between serum IgG antibody derived transplancentally in the acute phase of infection and IgM response to either glycoprotein. Neither IgG or IgM responses correlated with a clinical assessment of the severity of infection in the infants. IgM responses, however, were weakly correlated with reduced secretion of infectious virus in the upper respiratory tract.
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