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PLoS Pathog ; 17(12): e1010162, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1595940


The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 disease, has killed over five million people worldwide as of December 2021 with infections rising again due to the emergence of highly transmissible variants. Animal models that faithfully recapitulate human disease are critical for assessing SARS-CoV-2 viral and immune dynamics, for understanding mechanisms of disease, and for testing vaccines and therapeutics. Pigtail macaques (PTM, Macaca nemestrina) demonstrate a rapid and severe disease course when infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), including the development of severe cardiovascular symptoms that are pertinent to COVID-19 manifestations in humans. We thus proposed this species may likewise exhibit severe COVID-19 disease upon infection with SARS-CoV-2. Here, we extensively studied a cohort of SARS-CoV-2-infected PTM euthanized either 6- or 21-days after respiratory viral challenge. We show that PTM demonstrate largely mild-to-moderate COVID-19 disease. Pulmonary infiltrates were dominated by T cells, including CD4+ T cells that upregulate CD8 and express cytotoxic molecules, as well as virus-targeting T cells that were predominantly CD4+. We also noted increases in inflammatory and coagulation markers in blood, pulmonary pathologic lesions, and the development of neutralizing antibodies. Together, our data demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 infection of PTM recapitulates important features of COVID-19 and reveals new immune and viral dynamics and thus may serve as a useful animal model for studying pathogenesis and testing vaccines and therapeutics.

COVID-19 , Disease Models, Animal , Macaca nemestrina , Monkey Diseases/virology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Male , Monkey Diseases/immunology , Monkey Diseases/pathology , Monkey Diseases/physiopathology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
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
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 11 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551629


Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have experienced lower COVID-19 caseloads and fewer deaths than countries in other regions worldwide. Under-reporting of cases and a younger population could partly account for these differences, but pre-existing immunity to coronaviruses is another potential factor. Blood samples from Sierra Leonean Lassa fever and Ebola survivors and their contacts collected before the first reported COVID-19 cases were assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for the presence of antibodies binding to proteins of coronaviruses that infect humans. Results were compared to COVID-19 subjects and healthy blood donors from the United States. Prior to the pandemic, Sierra Leoneans had more frequent exposures than Americans to coronaviruses with epitopes that cross-react with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), SARS-CoV, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The percentage of Sierra Leoneans with antibodies reacting to seasonal coronaviruses was also higher than for American blood donors. Serological responses to coronaviruses by Sierra Leoneans did not differ by age or sex. Approximately a quarter of Sierra Leonian pre-pandemic blood samples had neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, while about a third neutralized MERS-CoV pseudovirus. Prior exposures to coronaviruses that induce cross-protective immunity may contribute to reduced COVID-19 cases and deaths in Sierra Leone.

Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Age Distribution , Alphacoronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Blood Donors , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Cross Protection , Cross Reactions , Epitopes , Female , Humans , Male , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Sierra Leone , United States