Journal article Open Access

Varicella in chimpanzees

Cohen, Jeffrey I.; Moskal, Thomas; Shapiro, Max; Purcell, Robert H.

Two chimpanzees were inoculated subcutaneously with the wild‐type Oka strain of varicella‐zoster virus (VZV). Viral DNA was detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of both animals using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) shortly after inoculation. Ten days after inoculation both animals developed an erythematous, papular rash near the site of inoculation that extended into the adjacent dermatome. Viral DNA was found by PCR in a skin biopsy from one of the animals at the time of the rash. While only two animals were studied, the development of a mild form of varicella in chimpanzees indicates that these animals might be useful for molecular studies of viral genes involved in virulence or attenuation of VZV.

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