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Pathogenesis of XJ and Romero Strains of Junin Virus in Two Strains of Guinea Pigs

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  • 1 Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas
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Argentine hemorrhagic fever (AHF), a systemic infectious disease caused by infection with Junin virus, affects several organs, and patients can show hematologic, cardiovascular, renal, or neurologic symptoms. We compared the virulence of two Junin virus strains in inbred and outbred guinea pigs with the aim of characterizing this animal model better for future vaccine/antiviral efficacy studies. Our data indicate that this passage of the XJ strain is attenuated in guinea pigs. In contrast, the Romero strain is highly virulent in Strain 13 as well as in Hartley guinea pigs, resulting in systemic infection, thrombocytopenia, elevated apartate aminotransferase levels, and ultimately, uniformly lethal disease. We detected viral antigen in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues. Thus, both guinea pig strains are useful animal models for lethal Junin virus (Romero strain) infection and potentially can be used for preclinical trials in vaccine or antiviral drug development.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Slobodan Paessler, Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555-1019, E-mail: slpaessl@utmb.edu.
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