Methods have been described for the extraction and purification of an agent inhibiting the hemagglutination of red cells by influenza (PR8) and mumps viruses. Human red cells have served as the chief source of the inhibitor but the latter has also been found in human lung.
The active extracts have been purified to the extent that 0.1 gamma of material suffices to inhibit one hemagglutinating dose of virus. Incomplete chemical characterization of the most highly purified fractions available indicates the presence of 2.6 per cent nitrogen, at least 50 per cent of polysaccharide, and no phosphorus. In the ultracentrifuge the purified preparation behaves as a polydisperse macromolecular substance.
The active material can be obtained from red cell stroma in an ether- and chloroform-soluble form which, on further treatment, can be converted into chloroform-insoluble material. It is possible that the former represents more closely the virus receptor as it exists in the red cell.
The purified inhibitor is inactivated on incubation with the virus at 37°C. The nature of this effect is being investigated.