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Primate Study Reveals SARS-CoV-2 Immunosuppressive Effects for Development of COVID-19 Treatments and Vaccines

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 17 Nov 2020
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Scientists have used a nonhuman primate model to identify features of the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 that could be useful for developing vaccines and treatment strategies.

The nonhuman primate model of COVID-19 infection was developed by the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB Daejeon, Korea) and is the fourth model reported worldwide, following China, the Netherlands, and the US. The results of the study were part of a larger research project aimed at identifying key features of SARS-CoV-2 and testing for the efficacies of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments using the primate model.

In the primate study, the researchers investigated vascular abnormalities due to the infection, reasons underlying fatality of COVID-19 infection, particularly in immunocompromised patients, sites of SARS-CoV-2 multiplication inside human body, and the time-course. The research team showed, for the first time, that SARS-CoV-2 caused vascular inflammation and that the endotheliitis persisted even three days after the infection. Further, they confirmed immunosuppression, which is typically observed in patients with immunodeficiency, when the viral load increased precipitously during COVID-19 infection (first two days after getting infected).

The research team observed that the virus multiplied rapidly in the upper and lower respiratory tracts of the experimental primates in first two days after the viral infection. Subsequently, the viral load decreased quickly, and the viral activity was not detected seven days after the infection. These findings are expected to provide novel insights regarding the diagnostic challenges associated with a false positive test, i.e., a positive result of the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for an asymptomatic person.

Related Links:
Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB)

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