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Age-Dependent Progression of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Syrian Hamsters

Institut für Virologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 7-13, 14163 Berlin, Germany
Institut für Veterinärpathologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 15, 14163 Berlin, Germany
Tiermedizinisches Zentrum für Resistenzforschung, Freie Universität Berlin, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Institut für Virusdiagnostik, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Current address: Department of Infectious Disease and Public Health, Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, 5/F, Block 1, To Yuen Building 31 To Yuen Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Viruses 2020, 12(7), 779;
Received: 29 June 2020 / Revised: 10 July 2020 / Accepted: 16 July 2020 / Published: 20 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis of Human and Animal Coronaviruses)
In late 2019, an outbreak of a severe respiratory disease caused by an emerging coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, resulted in high morbidity and mortality in infected humans. Complete understanding of COVID-19, the multi-faceted disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, requires suitable small animal models, as does the development and evaluation of vaccines and antivirals. Since age-dependent differences of COVID-19 were identified in humans, we compared the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection in young and aged Syrian hamsters. We show that virus replication in the upper and lower respiratory tract was independent of the age of the animals. However, older hamsters exhibited more pronounced and consistent weight loss. In situ hybridization in the lungs identified viral RNA in bronchial epithelium, alveolar epithelial cells type I and II, and macrophages. Histopathology revealed clear age-dependent differences, with young hamsters launching earlier and stronger immune cell influx than aged hamsters. The latter developed conspicuous alveolar and perivascular edema, indicating vascular leakage. In contrast, we observed rapid lung recovery at day 14 after infection only in young hamsters. We propose that comparative assessment in young versus aged hamsters of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and treatments may yield valuable information, as this small-animal model appears to mirror age-dependent differences in human patients. View Full-Text
Keywords: coronavirus; Mesocricetus auratus; animal model; COVID-19; pneumonia; age-related disease; histopathology; in situ hybridization; cellular tropism; serology coronavirus; Mesocricetus auratus; animal model; COVID-19; pneumonia; age-related disease; histopathology; in situ hybridization; cellular tropism; serology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Osterrieder, N.; Bertzbach, L.D.; Dietert, K.; Abdelgawad, A.; Vladimirova, D.; Kunec, D.; Hoffmann, D.; Beer, M.; Gruber, A.D.; Trimpert, J. Age-Dependent Progression of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Syrian Hamsters. Viruses 2020, 12, 779.

AMA Style

Osterrieder N, Bertzbach LD, Dietert K, Abdelgawad A, Vladimirova D, Kunec D, Hoffmann D, Beer M, Gruber AD, Trimpert J. Age-Dependent Progression of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Syrian Hamsters. Viruses. 2020; 12(7):779.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Osterrieder, Nikolaus, Luca D. Bertzbach, Kristina Dietert, Azza Abdelgawad, Daria Vladimirova, Dusan Kunec, Donata Hoffmann, Martin Beer, Achim D. Gruber, and Jakob Trimpert. 2020. "Age-Dependent Progression of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Syrian Hamsters" Viruses 12, no. 7: 779.

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