An analysis has been made of factors contributing to the von Magnus phenomenon; i.e., the emergence of increasing quantities of non-infectious hemagglutinins (NIHA) in successive passages in the allantois of chick embryos of undiluted allantoic fluids infected with influenza virus.
Using the PR8 strain, the von Magnus phenomenon was pronounced when the serial seeds were obtained under conditions which permitted extensive inactivation of infectious virus during individual passages. Correspondingly, it was reduced but not abolished when precautions were taken to avoid accumulation of inactivated virus in the inocula. Thus, inactivated virus may be taken as a contributing factor.
Preparations of infectious virus obtained under conditions largely excluding the presence of inactivated virus were capable of yielding some NIHA on passage as long as sufficient amounts were injected to permit each host cell to adsorb several infectious virus particles. However, the fact remains that more NIHA was found in the harvests when the inocula contained a large proportion of non-infectious virus material.
Following injection of various types of seeds NIHA appeared in the allantoic fluids as soon as liberation of virus became detectable. This time relationship and the rates of release of non-infectious virus components seemed to exclude that the NIHA obtained consisted entirely of infectious virus which had been inactivated during incubation in ovo. It was apparent rather that NIHA other than that due to heat-inactivated virus was released.
Correlations between the infectivities and hemagglutinating capacities of over 50 standard and undiluted passage seeds and the compositions of the harvests derived therefrom on passage without dilution indicated that the corresponding activities in the yields did not depend entirely upon the relative concentrations of infectious virus and non-infectious hemagglutinins in the inocula but that apparently different forms of NIHA were obtained in successive undiluted passages.