The Roborovski Dwarf Hamster – A Highly Susceptible Model for a Rapid and Fatal Course of SARS-CoV-2 Infection
33 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020 Publication Status: Review CompleteMore...
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has precipitated an unprecedented and yet unresolved crisis worldwide. Different mammals are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2; however, no species examined so far develops robust clinical disease that mirrors severe human cases or allows testing of vaccines and drugs under conditions of severe disease. Here, we compare the susceptibility of three dwarf hamster species (Phodopus spp.) to SARS-CoV-2 and introduce the Roborovski dwarf hamster (P. roborovskii) as a highly susceptible COVID-19 model with consistent and fulminant clinical signs. Particularly, this species shows SARS-CoV-2-induced severe acute diffuse alveolar damage and hyaline microthrombi in the lungs, changes described in patients who succumbed to the infection, but so far not reproduced in any experimentally infected animal. We therefore propose the Roborovski dwarf hamster as an ideal model to examine the efficacy and safety of live attenuated vaccine candidates and novel therapeutics, particularly for their use in highly susceptible individuals.
Keywords: coronavirus, animal model, COVID-19, pneumonia, histopathology, thrombosis, Campbell's dwarf hamster (Phodopus campbelli), Djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus), Roborovski dwarf hamster (Phodopus roborovskii)
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