Monoclonal antibodies to early (2H2.4, molecular weight 72,000 daltons) and late (2F3.0, molecular weight 68,000 daltons) antigens of the AD-169 strain of cytomegalovirus (CMV) were prepared by fusing mouse spleen cells with NS-1 mouse myeloma cells. The 2H2.4 monoclonal antibody produced a dense immunofluorescence with prominent lobular staining within the nucleus of CMV-infected substrate cells, whereas the reaction of 2F3.0 was more diffuse and generally involved the entire nucleus of the cells. Both monoclonal antibodies had little or no neutralizing activity against CMV in plaque-reduction assays. No cross-reactions were observed between these monoclonal antibodies and other members of the herpesvirus group. The 2H2.4 monoclonal antibody to early CMV antigen was used in a shell vial assay with a low-speed centrifugation step for the rapid (within 16 hours after inoculation) diagnosis of CMV infections. Optimal conditions for the test included centrifugation of shell vials at 700 X g for 45 minutes at 36 degrees C. An inoculum volume of 0.2 ml provided a reasonable balance between the optimal sensitivity for detecting specific viral fluorescence and the easy discrimination of the specific immunofluorescence from the background debris. Because of the commercial availability of the monoclonal antibody and the simplicity of the procedures used in the shell vial assay and subsequent fluorescence techniques, this rapid assay can be done in any laboratory that is familiar with cell culture manipulations.