Ribonuclease is a highly active inhibitor of vaccinia virus multiplication in vitro in the chorioallantoic membrane removed from embryonated chicken eggs. It is also a highly active inhibitor of pock formation by vaccinia and herpes simplex viruses on the chorioallantoic membrane in vivo. Marked inhibitory effects were obtained with 12.5 µg. of RNase. However, complete inhibition was not obtained with several hundred micrograms of the enzyme.
RNase caused no inactivation of the infectivity of vaccinia virus particles but it had a marked inhibitory effect on multiplication of this virus when administered many hours after infection of host cells had occurred. RNase also failed to inactivate the infectivity of herpes simplex virus particles.
The results obtained indicate that ribonucleic acid is necessary for the multiplication of two DNA-containing viruses; i.e., vaccinia and herpes simplex.