Animal models are critical to understand disease and to develop countermeasures for the ongoing epidemics of Zika virus (ZIKV). Here we report a non-human primate model using a 2016 contemporary clinical isolate of ZIKV. Upon subcutaneous inoculation, rhesus macaques developed fever and viremia, with robust excretion of ZIKV RNA in urine, saliva, and lacrimal fluid. Necropsy of two infected animals revealed that systematic infections involving central nervous system and visceral organs were established at the acute phrase. ZIKV initially targeted the intestinal tracts, spleen, and parotid glands, and retained in spleen and lymph nodes till 10 days post infection. ZIKV-specific immune responses were readily induced in all inoculated animals. The non-human primate model described here provides a valuable platform to study ZIKV pathogenesis and to evaluate vaccine and therapeutics.
Li, X. F., Dong, H. L., Huang, X. Y., Qiu, Y. F., Wang, H. J., Deng, Y. Q., … Qin, C. F. (2016). Characterization of a 2016 Clinical Isolate of Zika Virus in Non-human Primates. EBioMedicine, 12, 170–177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.09.022