Pathogenicity, tissue tropism and potential vertical transmission of SARSr-CoV-2 in Malayan pangolins
Edward C Holmes,
David M Irwin,
Posted 22 Jun 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.22.164442
Posted 22 Jun 2020
SARS-CoV-2 is having severe impact on public health at a global scale. Malayan pangolin SARS-CoV-2-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV-2) is closely related to SARS-CoV-2. We show that CT scans of virus-positive pangolins reveal bilateral ground-glass opacities in lungs in similar manner to COVID-19 patients. The virus infected multiple organs in pangolins, with the lungs being the major target. Histological expression showed that ACE2 and TMPRSS2 are co-expressed with viral RNA. Transcriptome analysis revealed an inadequate interferon response, with different dysregulated chemokines and cytokines responses in pregnant and non-pregnant adults and fetuses. Viral RNA and protein were detected in three fetuses providing evidence for vertical virus transmission. In sum, our study identifies the biological framework of SARSr-CoV-2 in pangolins, revealing striking similarities to COVID-19 in humans. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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