Primary exposure to SARS-CoV-2 protects against reinfection in rhesus macaques
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a global pandemic. It currently remains unclear whether convalescing patients have a risk of reinfection. We generated a rhesus macaque model of SARS-CoV-2 infection that was characterized by interstitial pneumonia and systemic viral dissemination mainly in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Rhesus macaques reinfected with the identical SARS-CoV-2 strain during the early recovery phase of the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection did not show detectable viral dissemination, clinical manifestations of viral disease, or histopathological changes. Comparing the humoral and cellular immunity between primary infection and rechallenge revealed notably enhanced neutralizing antibody and immune responses. Our results suggest that primary SARS-CoV-2 exposure protects against subsequent reinfection in rhesus macaques.