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1.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 04 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244362

ABSTRACT

Several reports demonstrated the susceptibility of domestic cats to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we describe a thorough investigation of the immune responses in cats after experimental SARS-CoV-2 inoculation, along with the characterization of infection kinetics and pathological lesions. Specific pathogen-free domestic cats (n = 12) were intranasally inoculated with SARS-CoV-2 and subsequently sacrificed on DPI (days post-inoculation) 2, 4, 7 and 14. None of the infected cats developed clinical signs. Only mild histopathologic lung changes associated with virus antigen expression were observed mainly on DPI 4 and 7. Viral RNA was present until DPI 7, predominantly in nasal and throat swabs. The infectious virus could be isolated from the nose, trachea and lungs until DPI 7. In the swab samples, no biologically relevant SARS-CoV-2 mutations were observed over time. From DPI 7 onwards, all cats developed a humoral immune response. The cellular immune responses were limited to DPI 7. Cats showed an increase in CD8+ cells, and the subsequent RNA sequence analysis of CD4+ and CD8+ subsets revealed a prominent upregulation of antiviral and inflammatory genes on DPI 2. In conclusion, infected domestic cats developed a strong antiviral response and cleared the virus within the first week after infection without overt clinical signs and relevant virus mutations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Cats , COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Lung , Immunity, Humoral
2.
Microbiol Spectr ; 11(3): e0255322, 2023 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20230845

ABSTRACT

The susceptibility of domestic cats to infection with SARS-CoV-2 has been demonstrated by several experimental studies and field observations. We performed an extensive study to further characterize the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between cats, through both direct and indirect contact. To that end, we estimated the transmission rate parameter and the decay parameter for infectivity in the environment. Using four groups of pair-transmission experiment, all donor (inoculated) cats became infected, shed virus, and seroconverted, while three out of four direct contact cats got infected, shed virus, and two of those seroconverted. One out of eight cats exposed to a SARS-CoV-2-contaminated environment became infected but did not seroconvert. Statistical analysis of the transmission data gives a reproduction number R0 of 2.18 (95% CI = 0.92 to 4.08), a transmission rate parameter ß of 0.23 day-1 (95% CI = 0.06 to 0.54), and a virus decay rate parameter µ of 2.73 day-1 (95% CI = 0.77 to 15.82). These data indicate that transmission between cats is efficient and can be sustained (R0 > 1), however, the infectiousness of a contaminated environment decays rapidly (mean duration of infectiousness 1/2.73 days). Despite this, infections of cats via exposure to a SARS-CoV-2-contaminated environment cannot be discounted if cats are exposed shortly after contamination. IMPORTANCE This article provides additional insight into the risk of infection that could arise from cats infected with SARS-CoV-2 by using epidemiological models to determine transmission parameters. Considering that transmission parameters are not always provided in the literature describing transmission experiments in animals, we demonstrate that mathematical analysis of experimental data is crucial to estimate the likelihood of transmission. This article is also relevant to animal health professionals and authorities involved in risk assessments for zoonotic spill-overs of SARS-CoV-2. Last but not least, the mathematical models to calculate transmission parameters are applicable to analyze the experimental transmission of other pathogens between animals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Cats , COVID-19/veterinary , Models, Theoretical , Risk Assessment
3.
Vaccine ; 40(33): 4676-4681, 2022 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915072

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019 resulted in the COVID-19 pandemic. Recurring disease outbreaks repeatedly overloaded the public health sector and severely affected the global economy. We developed a candidate COVID-19 vaccine based on a recombinant Newcastle disease virus (NDV) vaccine vector, encoding a pre-fusion stabilized full-length Spike protein obtained from the original SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan isolate. Vaccination of hamsters by intra-muscular injection or intra-nasal instillation induced high neutralizing antibody responses. Intranasal challenge infection with SARS-CoV-2 strain Lelystad demonstrated that both vaccination routes provided partial protection in the upper respiratory tract, and almost complete protection in the lower respiratory tract, as measured by suppressed viral loads and absence of histological lung lesions. Activity wheel measurements demonstrated that animals vaccinated by intranasal inoculation rapidly recovered to normal activity. NDV constructs encoding the spike of SARS-CoV-2 may be attractive candidates for development of intra-nasal COVID-19 booster vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Humans , Newcastle disease virus/genetics , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics
4.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(1): e1010161, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703195

ABSTRACT

The global response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now facing new challenges such as vaccine inequity and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). Preclinical models of disease, in particular animal models, are essential to investigate VOC pathogenesis, vaccine correlates of protection and postexposure therapies. Here, we provide an update from the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 modeling expert group (WHO-COM) assembled by WHO, regarding advances in preclinical models. In particular, we discuss how animal model research is playing a key role to evaluate VOC virulence, transmission and immune escape, and how animal models are being refined to recapitulate COVID-19 demographic variables such as comorbidities and age.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/etiology , Disease Models, Animal , SARS-CoV-2 , Age Factors , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Comorbidity , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
5.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572658

ABSTRACT

Domestic cats are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 virus infection and given that they are in close contact with people, assessing the potential risk cats represent for the transmission and maintenance of SARS-CoV-2 is important. Assessing this risk implies quantifying transmission from humans-to-cats, from cats-to-cats and from cats-to-humans. Here we quantified the risk of cat-to-cat transmission by reviewing published literature describing transmission either experimentally or under natural conditions in infected households. Data from these studies were collated to quantify the SARS-CoV-2 reproduction number R0 among cats. The estimated R0 was significantly higher than one, hence cats could play a role in the transmission and maintenance of SARS-CoV-2. Questions that remain to be addressed are the risk of transmission from humans-to-cats and cats-to-humans. Further data on household transmission and data on virus levels in both the environment around infected cats and their exhaled air could be a step towards assessing these risks.


Subject(s)
Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/veterinary , Animals , Cats , Databases, Factual , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 91-94, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541488

ABSTRACT

In order to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, transmission and reservoir development in swine, we combined results of an experimental and two observational studies. First, intranasal and intratracheal challenge of eight pigs did not result in infection, based on clinical signs and PCR on swab and lung tissue samples. Two serum samples returned a low positive result in virus neutralization, in line with findings in other infection experiments in pigs. Next, a retrospective observational study was performed in the Netherlands in the spring of 2020. Serum samples (N =417) obtained at slaughter from 17 farms located in a region with a high human case incidence in the first wave of the pandemic. Samples were tested with protein micro array, plaque reduction neutralization test and receptor-binding-domain ELISA. None of the serum samples was positive in all three assays, although six samples from one farm returned a low positive result in PRNT (titers 40-80). Therefore we conclude that serological evidence for large scale transmission was not observed. Finally, an outbreak of respiratory disease in pigs on one farm, coinciding with recent exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infected animal caretakers, was investigated. Tonsil swabs and paired serum samples were tested. No evidence for infection with SARS-CoV-2 was found. In conclusion, Although in both the experimental and the observational study few samples returned low antibody titer results in PRNT infection with SARS-CoV-2 was not confirmed. It was concluded that sporadic infections in the field cannot be excluded, but large-scale SARS-CoV-2 transmission among pigs is unlikely.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Swine Diseases/epidemiology , Swine Diseases/transmission , Swine Diseases/virology , Animals , Environmental Exposure , Netherlands/epidemiology , Public Health Surveillance , Retrospective Studies , Swine
7.
Pathogens ; 10(7)2021 Jun 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288975

ABSTRACT

In assessing species susceptibility for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and in the search for an appropriate animal model, multiple research groups around the world inoculated a broad range of animal species using various SARS-CoV-2 strains, doses and administration routes. Although in silico analyses based on receptor binding and diverse in vitro cell cultures were valuable, exact prediction of species susceptibility based on these tools proved challenging. Here, we assessed whether precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) could facilitate the selection of animal models, thereby reducing animal experimentation. Pig, hamster and cat PCLS were incubated with SARS-CoV-2 and virus replication was followed over time. Virus replicated efficiently in PCLS from hamsters and cats, while no evidence of replication was obtained for pig PCLS. These data corroborate the findings of many research groups that have investigated the susceptibility of hamsters, pigs and cats towards infection with SARS-CoV-2. Our findings suggest that PCLS can be used as convenient tool for the screening of different animal species for sensitivity to newly emerged viruses. To validate our results obtained in PCLS, we employed the hamster model. Hamsters were inoculated with SARS-CoV-2 via the intranasal route. Susceptibility to infection was evaluated by body weight loss, viral loads in oropharyngeal swabs and respiratory tissues and lung pathology. The broadly used hamster model was further refined by including activity tracking of the hamsters by an activity wheel as a very robust and sensitive parameter for clinical health. In addition, to facilitate the quantification of pathology in the lungs, we devised a semi-quantitative scoring system for evaluating the degree of histological changes in the lungs. The inclusion of these additional parameters refined and enriched the hamster model, allowing for the generation of more data from a single experiment.

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