PLoS ONE (Jan 2021)

Development of a coronavirus disease 2019 nonhuman primate model using airborne exposure.

  • Sara C Johnston,
  • Keersten M Ricks,
  • Alexandra Jay,
  • Jo Lynne Raymond,
  • Franco Rossi,
  • Xiankun Zeng,
  • Jennifer Scruggs,
  • David Dyer,
  • Ondraya Frick,
  • Jeffrey W Koehler,
  • Paul A Kuehnert,
  • Tamara L Clements,
  • Charles J Shoemaker,
  • Susan R Coyne,
  • Korey L Delp,
  • Joshua Moore,
  • Kerry Berrier,
  • Heather Esham,
  • Joshua Shamblin,
  • Willie Sifford,
  • Jimmy Fiallos,
  • Leslie Klosterman,
  • Stephen Stevens,
  • Lauren White,
  • Philip Bowling,
  • Terrence Garcia,
  • Christopher Jensen,
  • Jeanean Ghering,
  • David Nyakiti,
  • Stephanie Bellanca,
  • Brian Kearney,
  • Wendy Giles,
  • Nazira Alli,
  • Fabian Paz,
  • Kristen Akers,
  • Denise Danner,
  • James Barth,
  • Joshua A Johnson,
  • Matthew Durant,
  • Ruth Kim,
  • Jay W Hooper,
  • Jeffrey M Smith,
  • Jeffrey R Kugelman,
  • Brett F Beitzel,
  • Kathleen M Gibson,
  • Margaret L M Pitt,
  • Timothy D Minogue,
  • Aysegul Nalca

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 16, no. 2
p. e0246366


Read online

Airborne transmission is predicted to be a prevalent route of human exposure with SARS-CoV-2. Aside from African green monkeys, nonhuman primate models that replicate airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 have not been investigated. A comparative evaluation of COVID-19 in African green monkeys, rhesus macaques, and cynomolgus macaques following airborne exposure to SARS-CoV-2 was performed to determine critical disease parameters associated with disease progression, and establish correlations between primate and human COVID-19. Respiratory abnormalities and viral shedding were noted for all animals, indicating successful infection. Cynomolgus macaques developed fever, and thrombocytopenia was measured for African green monkeys and rhesus macaques. Type II pneumocyte hyperplasia and alveolar fibrosis were more frequently observed in lung tissue from cynomolgus macaques and African green monkeys. The data indicate that, in addition to African green monkeys, macaques can be successfully infected by airborne SARS-CoV-2, providing viable macaque natural transmission models for medical countermeasure evaluation.