Susceptibility of well-differentiated airway epithelial cell cultures from domestic and wildlife animals to SARS-CoV-2
Tran Thi Nhu Thao,
Nadine Stokar - Regenscheit,
Andres Moreira - Soto,
Amanda Vicente - Santos,
Eugenia Corrales - Aguilar,
Veronika von Messling,
Posted 10 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.10.374587
Posted 10 Nov 2020
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread globally, and the number of cases continues to rise all over the world. Besides humans, the zoonotic origin, as well as intermediate and potential spillback host reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 are unknown. To circumvent ethical and experimental constraints, and more importantly, to reduce and refine animal experimentation, we employed our airway epithelial cell (AEC) culture repository composed of various domesticated and wildlife animal species to assess their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we inoculated well-differentiated animal AEC cultures of monkey, cat, ferret, dog, rabbit, pig, cattle, goat, llama, camel, and two neotropical bat species with SARS-CoV-2. We observed that SARS-CoV-2 only replicated efficiently in monkey and cat AEC culture models. Whole-genome sequencing of progeny virus revealed no obvious signs of nucleotide transitions required for SARS-CoV-2 to productively infect monkey and cat epithelial airway cells. Our findings, together with the previously reported human-to-animal spillover events warrants close surveillance to understand the potential role of cats, monkeys, and closely related species as spillback reservoirs for SARS-CoV-2. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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