Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces a wide range of disease severity, ranging from asymptomatic infection to a life-threating illness, particularly in the elderly population and individuals with comorbid conditions. Among individuals with serious coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a common and often fatal presentation. Animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection that manifest severe disease are needed to investigate the pathogenesis of COVID-19–induced ARDS and evaluate therapeutic strategies. We report two cases of ARDS in two aged African green monkeys (AGMs) infected with SARS-CoV-2 that had pathological lesions and disease similar to severe COVID-19 in humans. We also report a comparatively mild COVID-19 phenotype characterized by minor clinical, radiographic, and histopathologic changes in the two surviving, aged AGMs and four rhesus macaques (RMs) infected with SARS-CoV-2. Notable increases in circulating cytokines were observed in three of four infected, aged AGMs but not in infected RMs. All the AGMs had increased levels of plasma IL-6 compared with baseline, a predictive marker and presumptive therapeutic target in humans infected with SARS-CoV-2. Together, our results indicate that both RMs and AGMs are capable of modeling SARS-CoV-2 infection and suggest that aged AGMs may be useful for modeling severe disease manifestations, including ARDS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine