Interferon or interferon-like virus inhibitor appears in rabbit cornea soon after infection with the HF strain of herpesvirus and prior to detection of local antibody. The early appearance of the virus inhibitor at the site of infection suggests it probably plays an important role in recovery from herpetic keratitis. Local antibody produced after initial herpesvirus infection may not be required for recovery. On the other hand, local antibody produced after primary virus infection plays a major role in resistance to reinfection with the same or related strain of herpesvirus. Serum antibody is of minor importance in resistance to reinfection and perhaps may be involved in controlling the severity of herpetic keratitis. Corneal resistance to reinfection herpetic keratitis wanes with time, and by day 90, corneas recovered from infection with herpesvirus are fully susceptible to reinfection.
Pollikoff R, Cannavale P, Dixon P. Herpes Simplex Virus Infection in Rabbit Eye. Arch Ophthalmol. 1972;88(1):52-57. doi:10.1001/archopht.1972.01000030054012