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SARS‐CoV‐2 surveillance for a non‐human primate breeding research facility

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The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic prompted the need for a surveillance program to determine the viral status of the California National Primate Research Center non-human primate breeding colony, both for reasons of maintaining colony health and minimizing the risk of interference in COVID-19 and other research studies.


We collected biological samples from 10% of the rhesus macaque population for systematic testing to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus by RT-PCR and host antibody response by ELISA. Testing required the development and validation of new assays and an algorithm using in laboratory-developed and commercially available reagents and protocols.

Results and conclusions

No SARS-CoV-2 RNA or antibody was detected in this study; therefore, we have proposed a modified testing algorithm for sentinel surveillance to monitor for any future transmissions. As additional reagents and controls become available, assay development and validation will continue, leading to the enhanced sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and efficiency of testing.

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