A study to evaluate the detection of bovine virus diarrhea viral antigen using immunofluorescence testing of white blood cells was conducted. Five colostrum-deprived calves were inoculated intravenously with a cytopathic strain of the virus. Lymphocyte and buffy coat smears were prepared daily for direct immunofluorescent staining for detection of antigen. Lymphocytes were separated from heparinized blood using a Ficoll density procedure. Buffy coat smears were prepared from centrifuged blood samples collected using ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid as an anticoagulant. Bovine viral diarrhea virus antigen was detected by immunofluorescence between 3 and 11 days postinfection in lymphocyte smears and 3 to 12 days postinfection in buffy coat smears. Isolation of virus from both lymphocytes and buffy coat preparations correlated with detection of immunofluorescence. Serum neutralizing antibody to bovine virus diarrhea virus was detected on day 10 postinfection. Buffy coat smears were as sensitive as lymphocyte smears for the detection of antigen by immunofluorescence. It appeared that immunofluorescent staining of white blood cells was an effective method of detecting bovine virus diarrhea viral antigen.
Bezek DM, Baker JC, and Kaneene JB. Can J Vet Res. 1988 April; 52(2): 288–290.