Methods were developed for a study of the relations existing between viruses and living cells. It was found that vaccinia and the virus causing the infectious fibroma of rabbits (Shope) rapidly become fixed upon tissue cells freed as individuals and submitted to virus in suspension. This happens whether the cells are alive or have been killed with heat or ultraviolet light. The virus does not come away during agitation of the cells with Tyrode solution and repeated washings with large amounts of it. The exposure to neutralizing antisera of cells carrying virus fails to affect this latter significantly if the cells are alive, whereas if they are dead the activity of the virus is nullified. Cells freed as individuals from tissue cultures of vaccinia and the Shope tumor carry these viruses in abundance through repeated washings, and, if living, protect them from the influence of a neutralizing serum, whereas killed cells exert no such protection.
The findings would appear to throw light on the way in which viruses gain a foothold in the host; and they suggest reasons for the persistence of some viruses in recovered animals and for the unsatisfactory results of serum treatment instituted during the course of virus diseases.
The virus causing the Shope fibroma has been successfully maintained in cultures of the growth. It is closely associated with the cells, almost none being present in the culture fluid. Certain of its other attributes have been determined. Vaccinia greatly damages the cells of cultures of rabbit embryo in which it is under propagation.