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A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was recently identified in patients with an acute respiratory syndrome, COVID-19. To compare its pathogenesis with that of previously emerging coronaviruses, we inoculated cynomolgus macaques with SARS-CoV-2 or MERS-CoV and compared with historical SARS-CoV infections. In SARS-CoV-2-infected macaques, virus was excreted from nose and throat in absence of clinical signs, and detected in type I and II pneumocytes in foci of diffuse alveolar damage and mucous glands of the nasal cavity. In SARS-CoV-infection, lung lesions were typically more severe, while they were milder in MERS-CoV infection, where virus was detected mainly in type II pneumocytes. These data show that SARS-CoV-2 can cause a COVID-19-like disease, and suggest that the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection is intermediate between that of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

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