Eight rhesus macaques inoculated with molecularly cloned SIVmac239 developed viremia and virus-binding antibod-ies, but only one (macaque 2D) developed neutralizing antibodies to the virus. Viremia persisted in macaque 2D even in the presence of neutralizing antibodies. Neutralizing antibodies in the plasma collected from macaque 2D late in infection neutralized virus isolated early in infection. In contrast, these antibodies failed to neutralize the plasma viruses isolated after the appearance of neutralizing antibodies. Only antigenic variants were isolated from blood, spleen, and lymph nodes. Viruses isolated from other macaques that did not develop neutralizing antibodies were neutralized by 2D serum and were of the parental (SIVmac239) phenotype. The variant viruses maintained their strict tropism for lymphocytes, similar to the parental virus.
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