Development of a natural transmission model of COVID-19

  • Funded by Department of Health and Social Care / National Institute for Health and Care Research (DHSC-NIHR), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Total publications:3 publications

Grant number: MR/V036963/1

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Start & end year

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    Department of Health and Social Care / National Institute for Health and Care Research (DHSC-NIHR), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United Kingdom, Europe
  • Lead Research Institution

    Department of Health and Social Care
  • Research Category

    Pathogen: natural history, transmission and diagnostics

  • Research Subcategory

    Disease models

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group

    Not Applicable

  • Vulnerable Population

    Not applicable

  • Occupations of Interest

    Not applicable


For the assessment of interventions against COVID-19, there are currently no alternatives to the use of animal systems that fully recapitulate a whole functioning body system. The initial focus on in vivo models for COVID-19, based on experiences of establishing animal models for the pathogenic coronaviruses which cause SARS and MERS, were with ferret and non-human primate models. However, recent results from international laboratories working on SARS-CoV-2 have highlighted that hamsters show a more distinctive COVID19 disease with clinical signs associated with respiratory infection (rapid breathing, weight loss, ruffled fur). In addition to the clinical signs, hamsters have also been shown to shed SARS-CoV-2 and infect their naïve cage mates. Developing the means of establishing and investigating this natural challenge model will provide important and beneficial testing protocols that can be used evaluate prophylactic therapies and vaccines via a natural infection route under experimental conditions, within a carefully controlled containment level 3 (CL3) envelope. This capability will also enable investigations on transmissibility between animals and studies on different strains, including those SARS-CoV-2 viruses that may be engineered by molecular virology techniques to address questions on virus host interactions. Hamsters appear to offer a valuable disease model for COVID-19. Importantly, establishing the hamster model and associated techniques to evaluate interventions in the UK at the unique CL3 facilities of PHE-Porton, will also support a rapid intervention screening and in vivo research hub for the country on COVID-19. This will support UK industry and academia's research need's and evidence base to progress into clinical trials

Publicationslinked via Europe PMC

Last Updated:38 minutes ago

View all publications at Europe PMC

Use of a Preclinical Natural Transmission Model to Study Antiviral Effects of a Carbohydrate-Binding Module Therapy against SARS-CoV-2 in Hamsters.

Activity of a Carbohydrate-Binding Module Therapy, Neumifil, against SARS-CoV-2 Disease in a Hamster Model of Infection.

Development of a Hamster Natural Transmission Model of SARS-CoV-2 Infection.