SARS-CoV-2 Omicron virus causes attenuated disease in mice and hamsters

Consortium Mount Sinai Pathogen Surveillance (PSP) study group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recent emergence of B.1.1.529, the Omicron variant1,2, has raised concerns of escape from protection by vaccines and therapeutic antibodies. A key test for potential countermeasures against B.1.1.529 is their activity in preclinical rodent models of respiratory tract disease. Here, using the collaborative network of the SARS-CoV-2 Assessment of Viral Evolution (SAVE) programme of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), we evaluated the ability of several B.1.1.529 isolates to cause infection and disease in immunocompetent and human ACE2 (hACE2)-expressing mice and hamsters. Despite modelling data indicating that B.1.1.529 spike can bind more avidly to mouse ACE2 (refs. 3,4), we observed less infection by B.1.1.529 in 129, C57BL/6, BALB/c and K18-hACE2 transgenic mice than by previous SARS-CoV-2 variants, with limited weight loss and lower viral burden in the upper and lower respiratory tracts. In wild-type and hACE2 transgenic hamsters, lung infection, clinical disease and pathology with B.1.1.529 were also milder than with historical isolates or other SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Overall, experiments from the SAVE/NIAID network with several B.1.1.529 isolates demonstrate attenuated lung disease in rodents, which parallels preliminary human clinical data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-692
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume603
Issue number7902
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 24 2022

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'SARS-CoV-2 Omicron virus causes attenuated disease in mice and hamsters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this