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10 Membrane Cofactor Protein (CD46) Is a Receptor for Measles Virus That Determines Viral Host Specificity

Ruth E. Dörig, Anne Marcil, Christopher D. Richardson


The symptoms induced by measles virus range from the acute childhood disease characterized by respiratory infection, fever, leukopenia, and rash to less common chronic infections affecting the nervous system (Norrby and Oxman 1990). The very rare persistent viral infections occur later in life; they include subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, measles inclusion body encephalitis, autoimmune chronic active hepatitis, and possibly Paget’s bone disease (Billeter and Cattaneo 1991; Randall and Russell 1991). Acute infection by measles virus is still the major killer disease of children in impoverished nations. The virus infects 44 million individuals per year and kills 1.5 million of them (Weiss 1992). Recent failures in developing countries with the high-titer Edmonston/Zagreb vaccines have prompted the World Health Organization to reevaluate immunization procedures (Weiss 1992). Administration of the high-titer vaccine to infants prior to the age of 9 months is associated with 20–80% increased mortality (biased toward females) due to secondary gastrointestinal and respiratory infections (Garenne et al. 1991; Aaby et al. 1993; Holt et al. 1993). This could be due to the immunosuppressive nature of measles virus (Esolen et al. 1993; Griffin and Ward 1993; Hilleman 1994). The high-titer vaccine has subsequently been withdrawn from the world market. There is now an increased effort to develop a vaccine that will target children prior to the age of 9 months, decrease seroconversion failures, possess better thermostability, and be able to be administered to a wider proportion of the world population. Children in North America are normally immunized after 15 months using...

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