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PLoS Pathog ; 18(7): e1010618, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1923717


The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 emerged in late 2019, rapidly reached pandemic status, and has maintained global ubiquity through the emergence of variants of concern. Efforts to develop animal models have mostly fallen short of recapitulating severe disease, diminishing their utility for research focusing on severe disease pathogenesis and life-saving medical countermeasures. We tested whether route of experimental infection substantially changes COVID-19 disease characteristics in two species of nonhuman primates (Macaca mulatta; rhesus macaques; RM, Chlorocebus atheiops; African green monkeys; AGM). Species-specific cohorts were experimentally infected with SARS-CoV-2 by either direct mucosal (intratracheal + intranasal) instillation or small particle aerosol in route-discrete subcohorts. Both species demonstrated analogous viral loads in all compartments by either exposure route although the magnitude and duration of viral loading was marginally greater in AGMs than RMs. Clinical onset was nearly immediate (+1dpi) in the mucosal exposure cohort whereas clinical signs and cytokine responses in aerosol exposure animals began +7dpi. Pathologies conserved in both species and both exposure modalities include pulmonary myeloid cell influx, development of pleuritis, and extended lack of regenerative capacity in the pulmonary compartment. Demonstration of conserved pulmonary pathology regardless of species and exposure route expands our understanding of how SARS-CoV-2 infection may lead to ARDS and/or functional lung damage and demonstrates the near clinical response of the nonhuman primate model for anti-fibrotic therapeutic evaluation studies.

COVID-19 , Aerosols , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Lung/pathology , Macaca mulatta , SARS-CoV-2
Viruses ; 14(1)2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580395


In recent months, several SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged that enhance transmissibility and escape host humoral immunity. Hence, the tracking of viral evolutionary trajectories is clearly of great importance. Little is known about SARS-CoV-2 evolution in nonhuman primate models used to test vaccines and therapies and to model human disease. Viral RNA was sequenced from rectal swabs from Chlorocebus aethiops (African green monkeys) after experimental respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection. Two distinct patterns of viral evolution were identified that were shared between all collected samples. First, mutations in the furin cleavage site that were initially present in the virus as a consequence of VeroE6 cell culture adaptation were not detected in viral RNA recovered in rectal swabs, confirming the necessity of this motif for viral infection in vivo. Three amino acid changes were also identified; ORF 1a S2103F, and spike D215G and H655Y, which were detected in rectal swabs from all sampled animals. These findings are demonstrative of intra-host SARS-CoV-2 evolution and may identify a host-adapted variant of SARS-CoV-2 that would be useful in future primate models involving SARS-CoV-2 infection.

COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Evolution, Molecular , Mutation , Polyproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Rectum/virology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/genetics
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(8)2021 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1075324


COVID-19 transmits by droplets generated from surfaces of airway mucus during processes of respiration within hosts infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. We studied respiratory droplet generation and exhalation in human and nonhuman primate subjects with and without COVID-19 infection to explore whether SARS-CoV-2 infection, and other changes in physiological state, translate into observable evolution of numbers and sizes of exhaled respiratory droplets in healthy and diseased subjects. In our observational cohort study of the exhaled breath particles of 194 healthy human subjects, and in our experimental infection study of eight nonhuman primates infected, by aerosol, with SARS-CoV-2, we found that exhaled aerosol particles vary between subjects by three orders of magnitude, with exhaled respiratory droplet number increasing with degree of COVID-19 infection and elevated BMI-years. We observed that 18% of human subjects (35) accounted for 80% of the exhaled bioaerosol of the group (194), reflecting a superspreader distribution of bioaerosol analogous to a classical 20:80 superspreader of infection distribution. These findings suggest that quantitative assessment and control of exhaled aerosol may be critical to slowing the airborne spread of COVID-19 in the absence of an effective and widely disseminated vaccine.

COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/transmission , Exhalation/physiology , Obesity/physiopathology , Aerosols , Age Factors , Animals , Body Mass Index , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Mucus/chemistry , Mucus/virology , Obesity/epidemiology , Obesity/virology , Particle Size , Primates , Respiratory System/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load