ARDS and Cytokine Storm in SARS-CoV-2 Infected Caribbean Vervets

Blair, R.V., Vaccari, M., Doyle-Meyers, L.A.. et al. ARDS and Cytokine Storm in SARS-CoV-2 Infected Caribbean Vervets. This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review. doi:

SARS-CoV-2 induces a wide range of disease severity ranging from asymptomatic infection, to a life-threating illness, particularly in the elderly and persons with comorbid conditions. Up to now, SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than five million and led to more than 300,000 deaths worldwide. Among those persons with serious COVID-19 disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a common and often fatal presentation. SARS-CoV-2-induced ARDS is difficult to treat clinically, and new therapeutic strategies are needed. In order to evaluate such therapeutic strategies, animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection that manifest severe disease are needed. Here we report fatal ARDS in two African green monkeys (AGMs) infected with SARS-CoV-2 that demonstrated pathological lesions and disease similar to severe COVID-19 in humans. Moreover, we report the observation of cytokine release (cytokine storm) in three of four infected AGMs. All four animals showed increased levels of IL-6 in plasma, a predictive marker and presumptive therapeutic target in humans infected with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our results suggest the AGM is a useful model to study disease pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2, and for the evaluation of therapeutic interventions designed to combat serious pulmonary disease associated with this infection.

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