Clinicopathologic features of a feline SARS-CoV-2 infection model parallel acute COVID-19 in humans.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jennifer M RuddCraig A Miller


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 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. This study validates a feline model for SARS-CoV-2 infection that results in clinical disease and histopathologic lesions consistent with severe COVID-19 in humans. Intra-tracheal inoculation of concentrated SARS-CoV-2 caused infected cats to develop clinical disease consistent with that observed in the early exudative phase of COVID-19. A novel clinical scoring system for feline respiratory disease was developed and utilized, documenting a significant degree of lethargy, fever, dyspnea, and dry cough in infected cats. In addition, histopathologic pulmonary lesions such as diffuse alveolar damage, hyaline membrane formation, fibrin deposition, and proteinaceous exudates were observed due to SARS-CoV-2 infection, imitating lesions identified in people hospitalized with ARDS from COVID-19. A significant correlati...Continue Reading

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