Intranasal exposure of African green monkeys to SARS-CoV-2 results in acute phase pneumonia with shedding and lung injury still present in the early convalescence phase

Robert W. Cross, Krystle N. Agans, Abhishek N. Prasad, Viktoriya Borisevich, Courtney Woolsey, Daniel J. Deer, Natalie S. Dobias, Joan B. Geisbert, Karla A. Fenton, Thomas W. Geisbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We recently reported the development of the first African green monkey (AGM) model for COVID-19 based on a combined liquid intranasal (i.n.) and intratracheal (i.t.) exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here, we followed up on this work by assessing an i.n. particle only route of exposure using the LMA mucosal atomization device (MAD). Six AGMs were infected with SARS-CoV-2; three animals were euthanized near the peak stage of virus replication (day 5) and three animals were euthanized during the early convalescence period (day 34). All six AGMs supported robust SARS-CoV-2 replication and developed respiratory disease. Evidence of coagulation dysfunction as noted by a transient increases in aPTT and circulating levels of fibrinogen was observed in all AGMs. The level of SARS-CoV-2 replication and lung pathology was not quite as pronounced as previously reported with AGMs exposed by the combined i.n. and i.t. routes; however, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in nasal swabs of some animals as late as day 15 and rectal swabs as late as day 28 after virus challenge. Of particular importance to this study, all three AGMs that were followed until the early convalescence stage of COVID-19 showed substantial lung pathology at necropsy as evidenced by multifocal chronic interstitial pneumonia and increased collagen deposition in alveolar walls despite the absence of detectable SARS-CoV-2 in any of the lungs of these animals. These findings are consistent with human COVID-19 further demonstrating that the AGM faithfully reproduces the human condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125
JournalVirology journal
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 18 2020

Keywords

  • Animal models
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Nonhuman primate
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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