Several cases of humans infected with the H9N2 avian influenza virus (AIV) have been described since 1999; however, the infectivity and pathogenicity of H9N2 in humans is not well defined. A non-human primate model in rhesus macaques was developed to study H9N2 virus infections as a means of better understanding the pathogenesis and virulence of this virus, in addition to testing antiviral drugs. Rhesus macaques inoculated with H9N2 AIV presented with biphasic fever and viral pneumonia. H9N2 was recovered from nasal washes and pharyngeal samples up to days 7-9 postinfection, followed by an increase in HI (hemagglutination inhibition) antibody titers. Tissue tropism and immunohistochemistry indicated that H9N2 AIV replicated in the upper respiratory tract (turbinate, trachea, and bronchus) and in all lobes of the lung. Our data suggest that rhesus macaques are a suitable animal model to study H9N2 influenza virus infections, particularly in the context of viral evolution and pathogenicity.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2013
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