UK B.1.1.7 variant exhibits increased respiratory replication and shedding in nonhuman primates.
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The continuing emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants calls for regular assessment to identify differences in viral replication, shedding and associated disease. In this study, African green monkeys were infected intranasally with either a contemporary D614G or the UK B.1.1.7 variant. Both variants caused mild respiratory disease with no significant differences in clinical presentation. Significantly higher levels of viral RNA and infectious virus were found in upper and lower respiratory tract samples and tissues from B.1.1.7 infected animals. Interestingly, D614G infected animals showed significantly higher levels of viral RNA and infectious virus in rectal swabs and gastrointestinal tract tissues. Our results indicate that B.1.1.7 infection in African green monkeys is associated with increased respiratory replication and shedding but no disease enhancement similar to human B.1.1.7 cases. ONE-SENTENCE SUMMARY: UK B.1.1.7 infection of African green monkeys exhibits increased respiratory replication and shedding but no disease enhancement.
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