Judie Alimonti 1 , 8 , Anders Leung 1 , 8 , Shane Jones 1 , Jason Gren 2 , Xiangguo Qiu 1 , Lisa Fernando 1 , Brittany Balcewich 3 , Gary Wong 1 , 4 , Ute Ströher 1 , 9 , Allen Grolla 1 , James Strong 1 , 4 , 6 , Gary Kobinger a , 1 , 4 , 5 , 7
25 July 2014
Containment level 4 (CL4) laboratories studying biosafety level 4 viruses are under strict regulations to conduct nonhuman primate (NHP) studies in compliance of both animal welfare and biosafety requirements. NHPs housed in open-barred cages raise concerns about cross-contamination between animals, and accidental exposure of personnel to infectious materials. To address these concerns, two NHP experiments were performed. One examined the simultaneous infection of 6 groups of NHPs with 6 different viruses (Machupo, Junin, Rift Valley Fever, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, Nipah and Hendra viruses). Washing personnel between handling each NHP group, floor to ceiling biobubble with HEPA filter, and plexiglass between cages were employed for partial primary containment. The second experiment employed no primary containment around open barred cages with Ebola virus infected NHPs 0.3 meters from naïve NHPs. Viral antigen-specific ELISAs, qRT-PCR and TCID 50 infectious assays were utilized to determine antibody levels and viral loads. No transmission of virus to neighbouring NHPs was observed suggesting limited containment protocols are sufficient for multi-viral CL4 experiments within one room. The results support the concept that Ebola virus infection is self-contained in NHPs infected intramuscularly, at least in the present experimental conditions, and is not transmitted to naïve NHPs via an airborne route.