Reinfection could not occur in SARS-CoV-2 infected rhesus macaques




Linlin Bao, Wei Deng, Hong Gao, Chong Xiao, Jiayi Liu, Jing Xue, Qi Lv, Jiangning Liu, Pin Yu, Yanfeng Xu, Feifei Qi, Yajin Qu, Fengdi Li, Zhiguang Xiang, Haisheng Yu, Shuran Gong, Mingya Liu, Guanpeng Wang, Shunyi Wang, Zhiqi Song, Wenjie Zhao, Yunlin Han, Linna Zhao, Xing Liu, Qiang Wei, Chuan Qin


An outbreak of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2), began in Wuhan and spread globally. Recently, it has been reported that discharged patients in China and elsewhere were testing positive after recovering. However, it remains unclear whether the convalescing patients have a risk of “relapse” or “reinfection”. The longitudinal tracking of re-exposure after the disappeared symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2-infected monkeys was performed in this study. We found that weight loss in some monkeys, viral replication mainly in nose, pharynx, lung and gut, as well as moderate interstitial pneumonia at 7 days post-infection (dpi) were clearly observed in rhesus monkeys after the primary infection. After the symptoms were alleviated and the specific antibody tested positively, the half of infected monkeys were rechallenged with the same dose of SARS-CoV-2 strain. Notably, neither viral loads in nasopharyngeal and anal swabs along timeline nor viral replication in all primary tissue compartments at 5 days post-reinfection (dpr) was found in re-exposed monkeys. Combined with the follow-up virologic, radiological and pathological findings, the monkeys with re-exposure showed no recurrence of COVID-19, similarly to the infected monkey without rechallenge. Taken together, our results indicated that the primary SARS-CoV-2 infection could protect from subsequent exposures, which have the reference of prognosis of the disease and vital implications for vaccine design.


March 14, 2020

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