Oral and Conjunctival Exposure of Nonhuman Primates to Low Doses of Ebola Makona Virus

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Nonhuman primate (NHP) models of Ebola virus (EBOV) infection primarily use parenteral or aerosol routes of exposure. Uniform lethality can be achieved in these models at low doses of EBOV (≤100 plaque-forming units [PFU]). Here, we exposed NHPs to low doses of EBOV (Makona strain) by the oral or conjunctival routes. Surprisingly, animals exposed to 10 PFU by either route showed no signs of disease. Exposure to 100 PFU resulted in illness and/or lethal infection. These results suggest that these more natural routes require higher doses of EBOV to produce disease or that there may be differences between Makona and historical strains.

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