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biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.02.04.429761


Medical imaging as method to assess the longitudinal process of a SARS-CoV-2 infection in non-human primates is commonly used in research settings. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) is also regularly used to determine the local virus production and immune effects of SARS-CoV-2 in the lower respiratory tract. However, the potential interference of those two diagnostic modalities with each other is unknown in non-human primates. The current study investigated the effect and duration of BAL on computed tomography (CT) in both healthy and experimentally SARS-CoV-2-infected female rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). In addition, the effect of subsequent BALs was reviewed. Thorax CTs and BALs were obtained from four healthy animals and 11 experimentally SARS-CoV-2-infected animals. From all animals, CTs were obtained just before BAL, and 24 hours post-BAL. Additionally, from the healthy animals, CTs immediately after and four hours post-BAL were obtained. Thorax CTs were evaluated for alterations in lung density, measured in Hounsfield units, and a visual semi-quantitative scoring system. An increase in the lung density was observed on the immediately post-BAL CT but resolved within 24 hours in the healthy animals. In the infected animals, a significant difference in both the lung density and CT score was still found 24 hours after BAL. Furthermore, the differences between timepoints in CT score were increased for the second BAL. These results indicate that the effect of BAL on infected lungs is not completed within the first 24 hours. Therefore, it is of importance to acknowledge the interference between BAL and CT in rhesus macaques.

biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.11.05.369413


SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that sparked the current COVID-19 pandemic. To stop the shattering effect of COVID-19, effective and safe vaccines, and antiviral therapies are urgently needed. To facilitate the preclinical evaluation of intervention approaches, relevant animal models need to be developed and validated. Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are widely used in biomedical research and serve as models for SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, differences in study design make it difficult to compare and understand potential species-related differences. Here, we directly compared the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the two genetically closely-related macaque species. After inoculation with a low passage SARS-CoV-2 isolate, clinical, virological, and immunological characteristics were monitored. Both species showed slightly elevated body temperatures in the first days after exposure while a decrease in physical activity was only observed in the rhesus macaques and not in cynomolgus macaques. The virus was quantified in tracheal, nasal, and anal swabs, and in blood samples by qRT-PCR, and showed high similarity between the two species. Immunoglobulins were detected by various enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and showed seroconversion in all animals by day 10 post-infection. The cytokine responses were highly comparable between species and computed tomography (CT) imaging revealed pulmonary lesions in all animals. Consequently, we concluded that both rhesus and cynomolgus macaques represent valid models for evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral candidates in a preclinical setting.

Lung Diseases , COVID-19