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Article

Clinical and Histopathologic Features of a Feline SARS-CoV-2 Infection Model Are Analogous to Acute COVID-19 in Humans

1
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
2
Division of Comparative Pathology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University, Covington, LA 70433, USA
3
Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Francisco Javier Salguero
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081550
Received: 10 July 2021 / Revised: 30 July 2021 / Accepted: 2 August 2021 / Published: 5 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SARS-CoV-2 and Animal Models)
The emergence and ensuing dominance of COVID-19 on the world stage has emphasized the urgency of efficient animal models for the development of therapeutics for and assessment of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Shortcomings of current animal models for SARS-CoV-2 include limited lower respiratory disease, divergence from clinical COVID-19 disease, and requirements for host genetic modifications to permit infection. In this study, n = 12 specific-pathogen-free domestic cats were infected intratracheally with SARS-CoV-2 to evaluate clinical disease, histopathologic lesions, and viral infection kinetics at 4 and 8 days post-inoculation; n = 6 sham-inoculated cats served as controls. Intratracheal inoculation of SARS-CoV-2 produced a significant degree of clinical disease (lethargy, fever, dyspnea, and dry cough) consistent with that observed in the early exudative phase of COVID-19. Pulmonary lesions such as diffuse alveolar damage, hyaline membrane formation, fibrin deposition, and proteinaceous exudates were also observed with SARS-CoV-2 infection, replicating lesions identified in people hospitalized with ARDS from COVID-19. A significant correlation was observed between the degree of clinical disease identified in infected cats and pulmonary lesions. Viral loads and ACE2 expression were also quantified in nasal turbinates, distal trachea, lungs, and other organs. Results of this study validate a feline model for SARS-CoV-2 infection that results in clinical disease and histopathologic lesions consistent with acute COVID-19 in humans, thus encouraging its use for future translational studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; domestic cats; feline; animal model; ARDS; pathology COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; domestic cats; feline; animal model; ARDS; pathology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rudd, J.M.; Tamil Selvan, M.; Cowan, S.; Kao, Y.-F.; Midkiff, C.C.; Narayanan, S.; Ramachandran, A.; Ritchey, J.W.; Miller, C.A. Clinical and Histopathologic Features of a Feline SARS-CoV-2 Infection Model Are Analogous to Acute COVID-19 in Humans. Viruses 2021, 13, 1550. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081550

AMA Style

Rudd JM, Tamil Selvan M, Cowan S, Kao Y-F, Midkiff CC, Narayanan S, Ramachandran A, Ritchey JW, Miller CA. Clinical and Histopathologic Features of a Feline SARS-CoV-2 Infection Model Are Analogous to Acute COVID-19 in Humans. Viruses. 2021; 13(8):1550. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081550

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rudd, Jennifer M., Miruthula Tamil Selvan, Shannon Cowan, Yun-Fan Kao, Cecily C. Midkiff, Sai Narayanan, Akhilesh Ramachandran, Jerry W. Ritchey, and Craig A. Miller. 2021. "Clinical and Histopathologic Features of a Feline SARS-CoV-2 Infection Model Are Analogous to Acute COVID-19 in Humans" Viruses 13, no. 8: 1550. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081550

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