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Spontaneous and experimental infection of alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) by the North American woodchuck hepatitis virus (Marmota monax). Initial results



Spontaneous and experimental infection of alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) by the North American woodchuck hepatitis virus (Marmota monax). Initial results



Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 7(3-4): 179-194



Summer's discovery in 1978 of a DNA virus, very close to human Hepatitis B virus in a woodchuck population in the U.S.A. (Pennsylvania) was a confirmation of the first description made by Snyder at Penrose Research Laboratory (Philadelphia). It was the first animal model of human B hepatitis infection. The comparative study of morphological, ecological and ethological characteristics of the marmot (Marmota marmota) and the woodchuck (Marmota monax) enables an easy distinction between these two species. The natural infection of M. monax by the WHV shows that the woodchuck is a good model for human B hepatitis and should be extended to M. marmota. A sample of 24 marmots caught in the Alpes of Haute-Provence has not revealed any spontaneous infection in these animals by the woodchuck virus. The failure of experimental inoculation of the marmot (24 animals) with the WHV confirms the refractory status of this species (no viremia and very low and short serological response with or without an immunosuppressive treatment). These preliminary results require a confirmation in other animals of different age and geographical region and also by using more specific tests such as molecular hybridization, research on DNA polymerase and direct transfection trials.

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Accession: 044381758

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PMID: 6532649


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