Human convalescent plasma protects K18-hACE2 mice against severe respiratory disease.

The Journal of General Virology
Joseph Golden Jay W. Hooper


SARS-CoV-2 is the causative agent of COVID-19 and human infections have resulted in a global health emergency. Small animal models that reproduce key elements of SARS-CoV-2 human infections are needed to rigorously screen candidate drugs to mitigate severe disease and prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2. We and others have reported that transgenic mice expressing the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) viral receptor under the control of the Keratin 18 (K18) promoter develop severe and lethal respiratory disease subsequent to SARS-CoV-2 intranasal challenge. Here we report that some infected mice that survive challenge have residual pulmonary damages and persistent brain infection on day 28 post-infection despite the presence of anti-SARS-COV-2 neutralizing antibodies. Because of the hypersensitivity of K18-hACE2 mice to SARS-CoV-2 and the propensity of virus to infect the brain, we sought to determine if anti-infective biologics could protect against disease in this model system. We demonstrate that anti-SARS-CoV-2 human convalescent plasma protects K18-hACE2 against severe disease. All control mice succumbed to disease by day 7; however, all treated mice survived infection without observable signs of disease. In marked...Continue Reading


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