The possibility of immunizing human infants against rotaviruses, which cause severe dehydrating diarrheal disease, may depend on the use of a related rotavirus, derived from another animal species, as a source of antigen. To test the feasibility of this approach, calves were infected in utero with a bovine rotavirus and challenged with bovine or human type 2 rotavirus shortly after birth. Infection in utero with bovine rotavirus induced resistance to diarrheal disease caused by the human virus as well as the homologous bovine virus. These data suggest that the bovine virus is sufficiently related antigenically to the human type 2 virus to warrant further evaluation of the former as a source of vaccine.
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