Calpox virus / Marmoset model
- a new animal model for orthopox virus infections
During an outbreak of an atypically proceeding cowpox virus infection in a private monkey husbandry, a virus similar to cowpox was isolated and called Calpox virus. In the course of the endemic outbreak 30 out of 80 animals died. Sick animals showed symptoms of a severe systemic infection with typical erosive-ulcerative to vesicular lesions, particularly of the mucous membranes of both mouth and skin. Thus the disease beared resemblance to variola virus infections of humans.
The newly isolated and characterized virus was already used in an experimental study with New World monkeys (Callithrix jacchus). The animals were infected intranasally with different dosages of the virus and developed a well reproducible disease pattern. They fell sick after an incubation period of 12 to 14 days and died within 2 to 3 days after incidence of the first clinical symptoms. Clinical symptoms after experimental infection were comparable to those of the first outbreak. Virus could be isolated from blood, saliva and tissue samples of infected animals. Identical syndromes resulted after intravenous application of the virus, however, an accelerated disease outbreak was observed.
Lately, pox virus infections became relevant again due to the often emotional discussion about the use of variola virus as biological weapon in terrorist attacks or in acts of war. As the present vaccine against variola virus causes severe side-effects, the development of new vaccines and therapeutic agents seems to be absolutely essential. All in all, the Calpox Virus/marmoset Model can be regarded as an excellent animal model for the validation of new vaccine candidates and therapeutic agents as well as for etiopathological studies. Currently, we perform a pathogenesis study on the intranasal application of calpox virus in a primate model, which is also the subjuect of a doctoral thesis.