Arenaviruses are negative strand RNA viruses that can cause disease and hemorrhagic fever in humans. Typically, research with the hemorrhagic fever causing - arenaviruses requires working in a Biosafety level (BSL)-4 environment which increases the time and cost of testing vaccine and therapeutics. Therefore, we have expanded on the previously described pirital virus (PIRV) animal model for human arenaviral hemorrhagic fever viruses. The PIRV animal model can be used in a BSL-3 laboratory to define disease manifestations or “triggers” that can be used in the testing of the efficacy of potential antivirals in a therapeutic mode. Pirital virus (PIRV) is a New world arenavirus that is considered a BSL-3 non-human pathogen. Infection of the Syrian golden hamster with PIRV leads to hemorrhagic fever manifestations. In this study, we show that intraperitoneal infection of female Syrian golden hamsters (13 -15 weeks of age), implanted with telemetry units, with PIRV leads to a specific disease progression resulting in hemorrhagic fever signs, viremia, viral titers in specific tissues, and mortality. Additionally, analyses of the core body temperature telemetry data demonstrate that the core body temperature raises 24 - 36 h post infection and the normal diurnal temperature pattern is disrupted. Lastly, visible signs of neurologic disease were observed, which correlates to the presence of lesions and necrosis within the brain. In all, this study has led to a description of the disease progression associated with an arenavirus hemorrhagic fever model and describes the “trigger” that can be potentially used to test the efficacy of potential antivirals in a therapeutic setting.
Key words: Arena virus, pirital virus, hemorrhagic fever.
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