Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Letter
  • Published:

Infection of rabbits with human immunodeficiency virus


An important requirement for the development of a vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1)1, the causative agent of AIDS2, is a readily available animal model that would allow possible immunogens to be evaluated3. The only species to have been infected with HIV-1 so far is the chimpanzee4–7. However, the scarcity of this animal and its designation as an endangered species8 place severe restrictions on its use as an animal model. Attempts to infect mice, rats, hamsters, guinea-pigs, musk shrews, and rabbits with HIV-1 or infected cells have all been unsuccessful9. We now report that the intraperitoneal inoculation of rabbits with HIV-1 or chronically infected H9 cells consistently induces a persistent infection.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Barré-Sinoussi, F. et al. Science 220, 868–871 (1983).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Gallo, R. C. et al. Science 224, 500–503 (1984).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Matthews, T. J. et al. AIDS Res. Hum. Relrovimses 3, 197–206 (1987).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Alter, H. J. et al. Science 226, 549–552 (1984).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Gajdusek, D. C. et al. Lancet i, 55–56 (1985).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Fultz, P. N. et al. J. Virol. 58, 116–124 (1986).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Fultz, P. N. et al. J. infect. Dis. 154, 896–900 (1986).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Desrosiers, R. C. & Letvin, N. L. Rev. Infect. Dis. 9, 438–446 (1987).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Morrow, W. J. W., Whaton, M., Lan, D. & Levy, J. A. J. gen. Virol. 68, 2253–2257 (1987).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Popovic, M., Sarngadharan, M. G., Read, E. & Gallo, R. C. Science 224, 497–500 (1984).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Cereda, P. M., Debiaggi, M. & Romero, E. Microbiologica 7, 107–111 (1984).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Mullis, K. & Faloona, F. A. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. quant. Biol. 51, 263–273 (1986).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Gartner, S. et al. Science 233, 215–219 (1986).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Äsjö, B. et al. Virology 157, 359–365 (1987).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Clapham, P. R. et al. Virology 158, 44–51 (1987).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Kotani, S. et al. Int. J. Cancer 37, 843–847 (1986).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Kulaga, H., Folks, T. M., Rutledge, R. & Kindt, T. J. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 85, 4455–4459 (1988).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Poiesz, B. J. et al. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 77, 7415–7419 (1980).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Davis, L. G. et al. in Basic Methods in Molecular Biology 44–46 (Elsevier, New York, 1986).

    Book  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Filice, G., Cereda, P. & Varnier, O. Infection of rabbits with human immunodeficiency virus. Nature 335, 366–369 (1988).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing