A new SARS animal model was established by inoculating SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) into rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) through the nasal cavity. Pathological pulmonary changes were successively detected on days 5-60 after virus inoculation. All eight animals showed a transient fever 2-3 days after inoculation. Immunological, molecular biological, and pathological studies support the establishment of this SARS animal model. Firstly, SARS-CoV-specific IgGs were detected in the sera of macaques from 11 to 60 days after inoculation. Secondly, SARS-CoV RNA could be detected in pharyngeal swab samples using nested RT-PCR in all infected animals from 5 days after virus inoculation. Finally, histopathological changes of interstitial pneumonia were found in the lungs during the 60 days after viral inoculation: these changes were less marked at later time points, indicating that an active healing process together with resolution of an acute inflammatory response was taking place in these animals. This animal model should provide insight into the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-related pulmonary disease and greatly facilitate the development of vaccines and therapeutics against SARS.
Copyright 2005 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.