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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

More monkey models for studying COVID-19

Singh, D.K. et al. Nat. Microbiol. 6, 73–86 (2021)

Nonhuman primates are valuable models for studying disease pathology. There are, however, several model primate options available. Rhesus macaques are used most often, but others, such as baboons and rat-sized marmosets, might also be considered. Which to choose?

A study from researchers at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute considers the suitability of three species – Macaca mulatta macaques, Papio hamadryas baboons, and Callithrix jacchus marmosets – as models for studying SARS-CoV-2 infections. While all three can be infected with the COVID-19-causing virus, there were differences in clinical symptoms and severity between the species. As others have shown, macaques are susceptible to the virus, as are baboons, which developed more severe symptoms, while infections in marmosets proved to be quite mild. Overall, the authors conclude that macaques may be most valuable for testing vaccines and therapeutics, and baboons for evaluating co-morbidities.

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Correspondence to Ellen P. Neff.

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Neff, E.P. More monkey models for studying COVID-19. Lab Anim 50, 44 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41684-021-00717-y

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