Antibodies (Abs) can contribute to the cure of a viral infection, in principle, in two ways by: (1) binding to infected cells and thereby reducing the production of progeny virus [here termed cell-targeting (CT) activity] and (2) reacting with released progeny virus and thereby inhibiting the spread of the infection [termed virus neutralizing (VN) activity]. We have previously shown that a pulmonary influenza virus infection in severe combined immunodeficient mice could be cured by treatment of these mice with hemagglutinin (HA)-specific monoclonal Abs (mAbs) that mediated both of the above activities. Although the therapeutic activity of these mAbs correlated with their VN activity, it remained unclear how much their CT activity contributed to the Ab-mediated recovery process. To clarify this point, we tested the therapeutic efficacy of two mAbs of IgG2a isotype that mediated CT but no VN activity: one specific for the viral neuraminidase and the other for matrix protein 2. Both mAbs reduced pulmonary virus titers by 100- to 1000-fold but they failed to clear the infection, even when administered in combination and at therapeutically saturating concentrations. The results suggest that CT activity contributes significantly also to the therapeutic activity of HA-specific mAbs and further support the notion that VN-activity is required for Ab-mediated virus clearance.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.