Susceptibility of tree shrew to SARS‐CoV‐2 infection
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Since severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) became a pandemic event in the world, it has not only caused huge economic losses, but also a serious threat to global public health. Many scientifc questions about SARS-CoV-2 and Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were raised and urgently need to be answered, including the susceptibility of animals to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here we tested whether tree shrew, an emerging experimental animal domesticated from wild animal, is susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. No clinical signs were observed in SARS-CoV-2 inoculated tree shrews during this experiment except the increasing body temperature particularly in female animals. Low levels of virus shedding and replication in tissues occurred in all three age groups. Notably, young tree shrews (6 months to 12 months) showed virus shedding at the earlier stage of infection than adult (2 years to 4 years) and old (5 years to 7 years) animals that had longer duration of virus shedding comparatively. Histopathological examine revealed that pulmonary abnormalities were the main changes but mild although slight lesions were also observed in other tissues. In summary, tree shrew is less susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with the reported animal models and may not be a suitable animal for COVID-19 related researches. However, tree shrew may be a potential intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2 as an asymptomatic carrier.
Link to resourcehttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72563-w
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