We have previously reported the cloning and characterisation of the heavy and light chain variable domain genes encoding three monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) that bind viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV). Two of these antibodies, 3F1H10 and 3F1A2 both neutralised the virus though 3F1A2 appeared to recognise a broader range of virus isolates. The variable domains of these two antibodies differ by only four residues (Lorenzen et al., 2000a. Fish Shellfish Immunol. 10, 129-142). To further study the mechanism of neutralisation, Fab fragments as well as a series of recombinant bacterial single chain antibody (scAb) fragments were generated from the three anti-VHSV Mabs and their variable domain genes, respectively. Fabs and scAbs derived from the neutralising Mabs were both able to neutralise the VHSV type 1 isolate DK-F1. In addition, a series of scAb fragments were produced using the 3F1H10 variable heavy (VH) chain and variable light (V kappa) chain domains but containing, either alone or in dual combination, each of the four different residues present in 3F1A2. The dissociation constants of Mabs 3F1H10 and 3F1A2 and their respective Fab and scAb fragments were measured by BIAcore analysis and found to correlate with the capacity of each molecule to neutralise DK-F1. These investigations, together with computer assisted molecular analysis of the theoretical influence of each mutation on antigen binding, led to the identification of a single mutation at position 35a in the VH domain as having the most marked impact on viral neutralisation.