Experimental infection of macaques with human metapneumovirus induces transient protective immunity
Human metapneumovirus (hMPV), a member of the family Paramyxoviridae, is a causative agent of acute respiratory-tract illness. Two main hMPV lineages circulate worldwide and reinfections occur frequently. It is unclear what level of protection is induced by natural hMPV infection, what the durability of this protection is and whether it differs for reinfection with homologous or heterologous viruses. Here, protective immunity in cynomolgus macaques at different time points after inoculation with molecularly cloned prototype viruses of the two main lineages of hMPV has been addressed. Animals received a homologous challenge at 4, 6 or 12 weeks after the primary infection. In addition, animals that had been inoculated three times within 10 weeks were challenged with homologous or heterologous virus 8 months later. Primary infection with 107TCID50resulted in virus shedding and induction of virus-neutralizing antibody responses, with higher titres against the homologous than the heterologous virus. Infections associated with virus shedding and seroconversion protected completely from homologous reinfection within 6 weeks, and partly at 12 weeks, after primary infection. Eight months later, protection had waned to virtually undetectable levels. This study demonstrates that experimental hMPV infection induces transient protective immunity.