The pronounced resistance to the x-rays manifested by the papilloma virus in ordinary suspensions is due to the protecting influence of extraneous matter and also in considerable degree to the amount of virus present in the preparation. Two to 4 million r were required to inactivate the virus contained in the crude papilloma extracts prepared for the present work, whereas 100,000 r or less was enough to inactivate comparable concentrations of virus after extraneous matter had been excluded by repeated differential centrifugation. The addition of normal rabbit serum or crystalline egg albumin to purified suspensions of virus was found to increase greatly the amount of irradiation required to inactivate the virus. Furthermore the percentage destruction of virus by a given amount of irradiation increases as the concentration is decreased by dilution with saline or buffer solutions. As little as 3,000 r will inactivate much of the virus in very dilute suspensions. The complement-binding antigen of papilloma virus suspensions is also inactivated by x-rays, but requires a somewhat larger amount of irradiation than necessary to destroy the infectivity of the suspensions.
The effects of irradiation on the antiviral antibody present in the blood of animals which have become immune to the virus—an antibody that specifically fixes complement in mixture with the papilloma virus—are also conditioned by extraneous material. 250,000 to 500,000 r had only a slight effect on the antibody in whole serum, while this amount of irradiation completely inactivated comparable amounts of antibody in preparations partially purified by precipitation with ammonium sulfate.
As a whole the findings indicate that under certain conditions of purity and concentration most of the radiation does not act by direct hits on virus or antibody particles, but indirectly by ionizing or exciting some other molecules present in the exposed suspension, which then react with the virus or antibody molecules.