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Viruses ; 13(11)2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512699


The global pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to an international thrust to study pathogenesis and evaluate interventions. Experimental infection of hamsters and the resulting respiratory disease is one of the preferred animal models since clinical signs of disease and virus shedding are similar to more severe cases of human COVID-19. The main route of challenge has been direct inoculation of the virus via the intranasal route. To resemble the natural infection, we designed a bespoke natural transmission cage system to assess whether recipient animals housed in physically separate adjacent cages could become infected from a challenged donor animal in a central cage, with equal airflow across the two side cages. To optimise viral shedding in the donor animals, a low and moderate challenge dose were compared after direct intranasal challenge, but similar viral shedding responses were observed and no discernible difference in kinetics. The results from our natural transmission set-up demonstrate that most recipient hamsters are infected within the system developed, with variation in the kinetics and levels of disease between individual animals. Common clinical outputs used for the assessment in directly-challenged hamsters, such as weight loss, are less obvious in hamsters who become infected from naturally acquiring the infection. The results demonstrate the utility of a natural transmission model for further work on assessing the differences between virus strains and evaluating interventions using a challenge system which more closely resembles human infection.

Commun Biol ; 4(1): 915, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327224


Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are urgently required, but early development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-1 resulted in enhanced disease after vaccination. Careful assessment of this phenomena is warranted for vaccine development against SARS CoV-2. Here we report detailed immune profiling after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) and subsequent high dose challenge in two animal models of SARS-CoV-2 mediated disease. We demonstrate in rhesus macaques the lung pathology caused by SARS-CoV-2 mediated pneumonia is reduced by prior vaccination with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 which induced neutralising antibody responses after a single intramuscular administration. In a second animal model, ferrets, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 reduced both virus shedding and lung pathology. Antibody titre were boosted by a second dose. Data from these challenge models on the absence of enhanced disease and the detailed immune profiling, support the continued clinical evaluation of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.

COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Ferrets , Macaca mulatta
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 81, 2021 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1007628


There is a vital need for authentic COVID-19 animal models to enable the pre-clinical evaluation of candidate vaccines and therapeutics. Here we report a dose titration study of SARS-CoV-2 in the ferret model. After a high (5 × 106 pfu) and medium (5 × 104 pfu) dose of virus is delivered, intranasally, viral RNA shedding in the upper respiratory tract (URT) is observed in 6/6 animals, however, only 1/6 ferrets show similar signs after low dose (5 × 102 pfu) challenge. Following sequential culls pathological signs of mild multifocal bronchopneumonia in approximately 5-15% of the lung is seen on day 3, in high and medium dosed groups. Ferrets re-challenged, after virus shedding ceased, are fully protected from acute lung pathology. The endpoints of URT viral RNA replication & distinct lung pathology are observed most consistently in the high dose group. This ferret model of SARS-CoV-2 infection presents a mild clinical disease.

COVID-19/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Ferrets/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Female , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/drug effects , Virus Replication/immunology , Virus Shedding/drug effects , Virus Shedding/immunology