Medical imaging of pulmonary disease in SARS-CoV-2-exposed non-human primates

Trends Mol Med. 2022 Feb;28(2):123-142. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2021.12.001. Epub 2021 Dec 7.


Chest X-ray (CXR), computed tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) are noninvasive imaging techniques widely used in human and veterinary pulmonary research and medicine. These techniques have recently been applied in studies of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-exposed non-human primates (NHPs) to complement virological assessments with meaningful translational readouts of lung disease. Our review of the literature indicates that medical imaging of SARS-CoV-2-exposed NHPs enables high-resolution qualitative and quantitative characterization of disease otherwise clinically invisible and potentially provides user-independent and unbiased evaluation of medical countermeasures (MCMs). However, we also found high variability in image acquisition and analysis protocols among studies. These findings uncover an urgent need to improve standardization and ensure direct comparability across studies.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; imaging; lung; non-human primate.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
  • Primates
  • SARS-CoV-2*