The endemic non-pathogenic Australian rabbit calicivirus RCV-A1 is known to provide some cross protection to lethal infection with the closely related Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV). Despite its obvious negative impacts on viral biocontrol of introduced European rabbits in Australia, little is known about the extent and mechanisms of this cross protection. In this study 46 rabbits from a colony naturally infected with RCV-A1 were exposed to RHDV. Survival rates and survival times did not correlate with titres of serum antibodies specific to RCV-A1 or cross reacting to RHDV, but were instead influenced by the time between infection with the two viruses, demonstrating for the first time that the cross protection to lethal RHDV infection is transient. These findings are an important step towards a better understanding of the complex interactions of co-occurring pathogenic and non-pathogenic lagoviruses.
Strive, T., Elsworth, P., Liu, J., Wright, J., Kovaliski, J., & Capucci, L. (2013). The non-pathogenic Australian rabbit calicivirus RCV-A1 provides temporal and partial cross protection to lethal Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus infection which is not dependent on antibody titres. Veterinary Research, 44(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1186/1297-9716-44-51