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Because of the damaging effects of bluetongue disease on the livestock industry, interest exists in developing a means of inducing passive immunity in infected animals. Antibodies against VP2, the polypeptide responsible for immunoantigenicity in bluetongue virus (BTV), have been found to elicit neutralizing antibodies; however, production of this purified antigen is very costly and thus impractical for commercial purposes. Total viral protein, prepared by a simple, rapid, highly reproducible SDS/KCl method, was injected into rabbits and found to produce antibodies which are useful in immunoblots. However, plaque neutralization assays failed to detect any neutralization activity by these antibodies. Denaturation of the antigenic determinants of the viral polypeptide during antigen preparation is suggested as one of the potential problems. BTV protein may be restored to its native state by a simple procedure involving urea exchange and a separative column. Further investigation is being conducted to determine the accuracy of the proposed hypothesis.

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