A simple and direct plaque assay for maedi virus, two strains of progressive pneumonia virus, and two strains of visna virus has been developed and evaluated. The technique allows the plaques formed by these viruses to be localized without disturbing the host-cell substrate of sheep choroid plexus cells or the gelled maintenance medium over the host-cell monolayer. Diethylaminoethyl-dextran supplementation of the medium used to overlay strain K796 visna virus-infected cultures decreases the time required for maximum plaque development from 12 to 10 days, enhances the contrast of the plaques, increases the titer of plaque-forming units, and permits a plaque size heterogeneity to be realized. Both large and small plaques occur in cultures infected with the visna viruses, one strain of progressive pneumonia virus, or maedi virus. In contrast, the plaques observed in cultures infected with the second strain of progressive pneumonia virus are relatively homogeneous in size
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