Studies on the relationship between coronaviruses from the intestinal and respiratory tracts of calves

Research paper by D. J. Reynolds, T. G. Debney, G. A. Hall, L. H. Thomas, K. R. Parsons

Indexed on: 01 Mar '85Published on: 01 Mar '85Published in: Archives of Virology


An immunofluorescence test on smears of nasal epithelial cells was used to detect coronavirus infection in the respiratory tract of calves. Thirteen gnotobiotic calves were infected with coronavirus isolates derived from faeces or respiratory material: virus was detected in faeces and nasal swabs from all animals. In 115 calves from a field survey, there was a significant association between coronavirus excretion from both respiratory and enteric routes in calves with diarrhoea. In a further 12 calves, at necropsy, the predilection sites for coronavirus growth were the distal small intestine, large intestine and the epithelia of the nasal cavity and trachea. Antigen was not found in lung tissue by immunofluoresence or immunoperoxidase staining.Infection with enteric coronavirus induced immunity to reinfection and to heterologous challenge with two coronavirus isolates derived from the respiratory tract. Nine coronaviruses were cultivated, cloned and antisera to three were prepared in pigs. There was complete virus neutralisation in tests with homologous sera and significant cross reactions with the eight other isolates which were of intestinal and respiratory origin. Thus, these bovine coronavirus isolates belonged to the same serotype despite the source of virus.