Susceptibility of well-differentiated airway epithelial cell cultures from domestic and wildlife animals to SARS-CoV-2

Mitra Gultom, Matthias Licheri, Laura Laloli, Manon Wider, Marina Strässle, Silvio Steiner, Annika Kratzel, Tran Thi Nhu Thao, Hanspeter Stalder, Jasmine Portmann,  Melle Holwerda, Philip V’kovski, Nadine Ebert, Nadine Stokar – Regenscheit, Corinne Gurtner, Patrik Zanolari, Horst Posthaus, Simone Schuller, Amanda Vicente – Santos, Andres Moreira – Soto, Eugenia Corrales – Aguilar, Nicolas Ruggli, Gergely Tekes, Veronika von Messling, Bevan Sawatsky, Volker Thiel,  Ronald Dijkman

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread globally, and the number of cases continues to rise all over the world. 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 an 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.

Published July 2021 in Emerging Infectious Diseases 

       Mitra EID picture


Host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis; a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 721367.