Mpox infection protects against re-challenge in rhesus macaques

Cell. 2023 Oct 12;186(21):4652-4661.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2023.08.023. Epub 2023 Sep 20.


The mpox outbreak of 2022-2023 involved rapid global spread in men who have sex with men. We infected 18 rhesus macaques with mpox by the intravenous, intradermal, and intrarectal routes and observed robust antibody and T cell responses following all three routes of infection. Numerous skin lesions and high plasma viral loads were observed following intravenous and intradermal infection. Skin lesions peaked on day 10 and resolved by day 28 following infection. On day 28, we re-challenged all convalescent and 3 naive animals with mpox. All convalescent animals were protected against re-challenge. Transcriptomic studies showed upregulation of innate and inflammatory responses and downregulation of collagen formation and extracellular matrix organization following challenge, as well as rapid activation of T cell and plasma cell responses following re-challenge. These data suggest key mechanistic insights into mpox pathogenesis and immunity. This macaque model should prove useful for evaluating mpox vaccines and therapeutics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta*
  • Male
  • Monkeypox virus* / physiology
  • Mpox (monkeypox)* / immunology
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities