COVID-19 Infection Model Described in Cynomolgus Macaques

April 30, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 2-3 minutes

Sourced by Lab.Equipment from Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN), here is an interesting Biotech industry article for you:

The discovery of COVID-19 treatments is urgently needed. As part of that process, so too are appropriate animal models to test them. However, which animal(s) can be the most useful in this scientific endeavor remains a question.

A group from the Netherlands sought to address this question. They infected young and aged cynomolgus macaques with a clinical isolate of SARS-CoV-2. The pathogenesis of SARS-CoV infection had been previously studied in this nonhuman primate model. Not only did they characterize the infection of SARS-CoV-2, they also compared that infection with that of MERS-CoV, and results with historical reports of infections by SARS-CoV.

The work was recently published in Science in the paper titled, “Comparative pathogenesis of COVID-19, MERS, and SARS in a nonhuman primate model.”

The researchers inoculated “two groups of four cynomolgus macaques (both young adult (4–5 years of age); and old adult (15–20 years of age) by a combined intratracheal (IT) and intranasal (IN) route with a SARS-CoV-2 strain from a German traveler returning from China.”

SARS-CoV-2 led to mild infection in cynomolgus macaques with little to no symptoms, the authors reported, even though animals infected were shedding the virus. Despite the absence of clinical signs, the animals shed the virus, as measured by RT-qPCR and virus culture of nasal, throat, and rectal swabs. The authors noted that, in nasal swabs, “detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA peaked by day 2 post-infection (pi) in young animals, by day 4 pi in aged animals, was detected up to at least day 8 pi in two out of four animals and up to day 21 pi in one out of four animals.”

This has interesting similarities to how asymptomatic humans shed the SARS-CoV-2 virus, such as the human presymptomatic and asymptomatic cases that have... Want to read more? Visit the GEN​ Blog.

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