July 30, 2020, SEOUL, South Korea — We were pleased to welcome Dr. Jung Joo Hong, Director of ABSL-3 at the National Primate Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology for a seminar on the suitability of macaques as a non-human primate model to study immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a current global pandemic, and there is an urgent need for a feasible model that mimics the human immune system, thus allowing studies on disease transmission and improvement of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. T o date, the immune response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has not been elucidated in any animal model, including non-human primates. Our study demonstrates that macaques are a suitable non-human primate model to study the immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Macaques infected with a human isolate of SARS-CoV-2 showed a loss of leukocytes, including T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells. Researchers have tried to accelerate immune modulator and vaccine development and this data is expected to play an important part.