Using Macaques to Address Critical Questions in Zika Virus Research

Dawn M. Dudley, Matthew T. Aliota, Emma L. Mohr, Christina M. Newman, Thaddeus G. Golos, Thomas C. Friedrich, David H. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Zika virus (ZIKV) and nonhuman primates have been inextricably linked since the virus was first discovered in a sentinel rhesus macaque in Uganda in 1947. Soon after ZIKV was epidemiologically associated with birth defects in Brazil late in 2015, researchers capitalized on the fact that rhesus macaques are commonly used to model viral immunity and pathogenesis, quickly establishing macaque models for ZIKV infection. Within months, the susceptibility of pregnant macaques to experimental ZIKV challenge and ZIKV-associated abnormalities in fetuses was confirmed. This review discusses key unanswered questions in ZIKV immunity and in the pathogenesis of thecongenital Zika virus syndrome. We focus on those questions that can be best addressed in pregnant nonhuman primates and lessons learned from developing macaque models for ZIKV amid an active epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-500
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Virology
StatePublished - Sep 29 2019

Bibliographical note

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  • ZIKV
  • Zika virus
  • arbovirus
  • congenital Zika syndrome
  • flavivirus
  • macaque
  • pregnant


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