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Respiratory disease and virus shedding in rhesus macaques inoculated with SARS-CoV-2

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posted on 25.03.2020 by Vincent J. Munster, Friederike Feldmann, Brandi Williamson, Neeltje van Doremalen, Lizzette Perez-Perez, Jonathan Schulz, Kimberly Meade-White, Atsushi Okumura, Julie Callison, Beniah Brumbaugh, Victoria Avanzato, Rebecca Rosenke, Patrick Hanley, Dana Scott, Elizabeth Fischer, Emmie de Wit
These data are associated with a study on SARS-CoV-2 infection in rhesus macaques and support the following peer-reviewed publication: Munster, V.J., Feldmann, F., Williamson, B.N. et al. Respiratory disease in rhesus macaques inoculated with SARS-CoV-2. Nature (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2324-7
This work was previously described in a preprint on bioRxiv: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.21.001628

An outbreak of a novel coronavirus, now named SARS-CoV-2, causing respiratory disease and a ∼2% case fatality rate started in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Following unprecedented rapid global spread, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Although data on disease in humans are emerging at a steady pace, certain aspects of the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 can only be studied in detail in animal models, where repeated sampling and tissue collection is possible. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 causes respiratory disease in infected rhesus macaques, with disease lasting 8-16 days. Pulmonary infiltrates, a hallmark of human disease, were visible in lung radiographs of all animals. High viral loads were detected in swabs from the nose and throat of all animals as well as in bronchoalveolar lavages; in one animal we observed prolonged rectal shedding. Taken together, the rhesus macaque recapitulates moderate disease observed in the majority of human cases. The establishment of the rhesus macaque as a model of COVID-19 will increase our understanding of the pathogenesis of this disease and will aid development and testing of medical countermeasures.

Funding

This work is funded by the Division of Intramural Research of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

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  • AI - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

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