The virus has so far infected at least 17 people in the Middle East and Europe, killing 11 of them. The NIH team established the nonhuman primate model in December 2012 and is using it to study how the virus causes disease and to evaluate potential vaccines and antiviral treatments.
|Transmission electron micrograph of novel coronavirus particles, colorized in yellow.
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The model shows that clinical signs of coronavirus disease appear within 24 hours of infection. These signs include reduced appetite, elevated temperature, increased respiratory rate, cough, goose bumps and hunched posture. In monkeys and humans, the infection causes disease deep in the lungs, leading to pneumonia. Scientists are exploring whether the virus’ foothold in the lower respiratory tract impedes its ability to spread efficiently.
Researchers at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) developed the model after obtaining coronavirus samples from collaborators at Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands.
Munster et al. Novel Human Coronavirus Causes Pneumonia in a Macaque Model Resembling Human Disease. New England Journal of Medicine DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1215691 (2013).
Vincent Munster, Ph.D., chief of the virus ecology unit in NIAID’s Laboratory of Virology, is leading the NIAID team investigating the new coronavirus.
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NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at www.niaid.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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