Establishment of an African green monkey model for COVID-19

Courtney Woolsey, Viktoriya Borisevich, Abhishek Prasad, Krystle N. Agans, Daniel J. Deer, Natalie S. Dobias, John C. Heymann, Stephanie L. Foster, Corri B. Levine, Liana Medina, Kevin Melody, Joan B. Geisbert, Karla Fenton, Thomas W. Geisbert, Robert W. Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for an unprecedented global pandemic of COVID-19. Animal models are urgently needed to study the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and to screen candidate vaccines and treatments. Nonhuman primates (NHP) are considered the gold standard model for many infectious pathogens as they usually best reflect the human condition. Here, we show that African green monkeys support a high level of SARS-CoV-2 replication and develop pronounced respiratory disease that may be more substantial than reported for other NHP species including cynomolgus and rhesus macaques. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 was detected in mucosal samples of all animals including feces of several animals as late as 15 days after virus exposure. Importantly, we show that virus replication and respiratory disease can be produced in African green monkeys using a much lower and more natural dose of SARS-CoV-2 than has been employed in other NHP studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - May 17 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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