Comparative Pathogenesis of COVID-19, MERS, and SARS in a Nonhuman Primate Model

Science. 2020 May 29;368(6494):1012-1015. doi: 10.1126/science.abb7314. Epub 2020 Apr 17.

Abstract

The current pandemic coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was recently identified in patients with an acute respiratory syndrome, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). To compare its pathogenesis with that of previously emerging coronaviruses, we inoculated cynomolgus macaques with SARS-CoV-2 or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV and compared the pathology and virology with historical reports of SARS-CoV infections. In SARS-CoV-2-infected macaques, virus was excreted from nose and throat in the absence of clinical signs and detected in type I and II pneumocytes in foci of diffuse alveolar damage and in ciliated epithelial cells of nasal, bronchial, and bronchiolar mucosae. In SARS-CoV infection, lung lesions were typically more severe, whereas they were milder in MERS-CoV infection, where virus was detected mainly in type II pneumocytes. These data show that SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19-like disease in macaques and provides a new model to test preventive and therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Betacoronavirus / physiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lung / virology
  • Macaca fascicularis*
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / isolation & purification
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / physiology
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / virology
  • Respiratory System / pathology
  • Respiratory System / virology
  • SARS Virus / isolation & purification
  • SARS Virus / physiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / pathology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Virus Replication
  • Virus Shedding

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2