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Animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mechanisms of COVID-19
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  • Simon Cleary,
  • Simon Pitchford,
  • Richard Amison,
  • Robert Carrington,
  • C.Lorena Robaina Cabrera,
  • Melia Magnen,
  • Mark Looney,
  • Elaine Gray,
  • Clive Page
Simon Cleary
UCSF
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Simon Pitchford
King's College London
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Richard Amison
King's College London
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Robert Carrington
Covance Laboratories Ltd
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C.Lorena Robaina Cabrera
King's College London
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Melia Magnen
University of California San Francisco
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Mark Looney
University of California San Francisco
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Elaine Gray
National Institute for Biological Standards and Control
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Clive Page
King's College London
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Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 infections has led to substantial unmet need for treatments, many of which will require testing in appropriate animal models of this disease. Vaccine trials are already underway, but there remains an urgent need to find other therapeutic approaches to either target SARS-CoV-2 or the complications arising from viral infection, particularly the dysregulated immune response and systemic complications which have been associated with progression to severe COVID-19. At the time of writing, in vivo studies of SARS-CoV-2 infection have been described using macaques, cats, ferrets, hamsters, and transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). These infection models have already been useful for studies of transmission and immunity, but to date only partially model the mechanisms implicated in human severe COVID-19. There is therefore an urgent need for development of animal models for improved evaluation of efficacy of drugs identified as having potential in the treatment of severe COVID-19. These models need to recapitulate key mechanisms of COVID-19 severe acute respiratory distress syndrome and reproduce the immunopathology and systemic sequelae associated with this disease. Here, we review the current models of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19-related disease mechanisms and suggest ways in which animal models can be adapted to increase their usefulness in research into COVID-19 pathogenesis and for assessing potential treatments.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

30 Apr 2020Submitted to British Journal of Pharmacology
02 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
02 May 2020Assigned to Editor
03 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 May 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
08 May 20201st Revision Received
11 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
11 May 2020Assigned to Editor
11 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
11 May 2020Editorial Decision: Accept