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Scientists to test COVID-19 vaccines on animals

Date: 12 March 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous


Monkeys, mice and ferrets are helping scientists to fight coronavirus because animal models can reveal how infections develop and aid efforts to develop drugs and vaccines.



A team has found that the animals are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. The researchers are now studying the course of infection, before testing potential vaccines.



  • Ferrets are a popular model for influenza and other respiratory infections because their lung physiology is similar to that of humans, and researchers hope they will mimic aspects of COVID-19 in people.

  • Researchers in China, who had a headstart, are leading the work on infecting monkeys and transgenic mice that have the human ACE2 gene.

  • But the study warns that no animal model is perfect, and monkeys and mice tell researchers different things about infection, shedding light on factors such as the role of the immune system or how the virus spreads.

  • These vaccines will have to be tested in animals such as mice, ferrets and monkeys before they can enter human clinical trials. 

  • The Asian Development Bank has estimated the loss to global economy could be more than $100 billion.

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