Copyright ©The Author(s) 2022. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Virol. Jan 25, 2022; 11(1): 40-56
Published online Jan 25, 2022. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v11.i1.40
Animal models for SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 pathogenesis, transmission and therapeutic evaluation
Udhaya Bharathy Saravanan, Mayurikaa Namachivayam, Rajesh Jeewon, Jian-Dong Huang, Siva Sundara Kumar Durairajan
Udhaya Bharathy Saravanan, Mayurikaa Namachivayam, Siva Sundara Kumar Durairajan, Department of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, Central University of Tamil Nadu, Tiruvarur 610005, India
Rajesh Jeewon, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Mauritius, Reduit 80837, Mauritius
Jian-Dong Huang, School of Biomedical Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Jian-Dong Huang, CAS Key Laboratory of Quantitative Engineering Biology, Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong Province, China
Author contributions: Durairajan SSK, and Huang JD conceptualized, designed, and contributed to the outline of the review article; Saravanan UB, Durairajan SSK, Jeewon R, and Namachivayam M contributed to drafting, editing, and formatting of the manuscript; Saravanan UB, and Namachivayam M contributed to the illustration; Durairajan SSK secured the funding of the study; Durairajan SSK, and Huang JD are joint senior authors.
Supported by COVID Therapeutics, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, Ref. No. BT/PR4094/COT/142/20/2021.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Nothing to disclosed.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Siva Sundara Kumar Durairajan, MSc, M.Tech, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, Central University of Tamil Nadu, Neelakudi, Tiruvarur 610005, India.
Received: June 24, 2021
Peer-review started: June 24, 2021
First decision: July 31, 2021
Revised: August 22, 2021
Accepted: November 24, 2021
Article in press: November 24, 2021
Published online: January 25, 2022

There is a critical need to develop animal models to alleviate vaccine and drug development difficulties against zoonotic viral infections. The coronavirus family, which includes severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1 and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, crossed the species barrier and infected humans, causing a global outbreak in the 21st century. Because humans do not have pre-existing immunity against these viral infections and with ethics governing clinical trials, animal models are therefore being used in clinical studies to facilitate drug discovery and testing efficacy of vaccines. The ideal animal models should reflect the viral replication, clinical signs, and pathological responses observed in humans. Different animal species should be tested to establish an appropriate animal model to study the disease pathology, transmission and evaluation of novel vaccine and drug candidates to treat coronavirus disease 2019. In this context, the present review summarizes the recent progress in developing animal models for these two pathogenic viruses and highlights the utility of these models in studying SARS-associated coronavirus diseases.

Keywords: Animal models, SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Mice, Hamster, Non-human primates, Pathogenesis, Transmission, Therapeutics

Core tip: In this review we discuss the importance of various animal models of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1). SARS-CoV-2 is the causal agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a public health emergency of concern. Due to the inadequate knowledge in analyzing the mode of action of COVID-19 infection, we must be thoroughly familiarized with the available animal models. Therefore, we discuss the pros and cons of various animal models, and emphasize the use of humanized mice to study the biology of viral diseases because it is convenient to mimic the human immune system in humanized mice.