In a new study, researchers found new features of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
This finding could be useful for developing vaccines and treatment strategies.
The research was conducted by a team at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB).
The work started in February this year and resulted in the successful development of a nonhuman primate model of COVID-19 infection, the fourth model reported worldwide, following China, the Netherlands, and the US.
The results of the study were part of a larger research project aiming to identify key features of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, and to test for the efficacies of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments using the primate model.
In the study, the team tested vascular abnormalities due to the infection, reasons underlying fatality of COVID-19 infection, particularly in immunocompromised patients, sites of SARS-CoV-2 multiplication inside the human body, and the time-course.
They showed, for the first time, that SARS-CoV-2 caused vascular inflammation and that the endotheliitis persisted three days after the infection.
Further, they confirmed immunosuppression, which is typically observed in patients with immunodeficiency, when the viral load increased precipitously during COVID-19 infection (first two days after infection).
The research team found that the virus multiplied rapidly in the upper and lower respiratory tracts of the experimental primates in the first two days after the viral infection.
Subsequently, the viral load decreased quickly, and the viral activity was not detected seven days after the infection.
These findings could provide novel insights regarding the diagnostic challenges linked to a false positive test, i.e., a positive result of the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for an asymptomatic.
One author of the study is Dr. Jung Joo Hong at the KRIBB National Primate Research Center.
The study is published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
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