Virology

A Mouse Model for MERS

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Science  11 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6180, pp. 131
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6180.131-c

Coronavirus (CoV) infections acquired from wild and domesticated animals pose a threat of causing severe and often fatal human pneumonias, as witnessed by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) CoV, originating in edible wildlife, and more recently by the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) CoV, possibly from camels. The pathogenesis of MERS is poorly understood, and animal models have been restricted to macaques until now. Zhao et al. have developed a way of rapidly producing models by transducing mice with a non-replicating adenovirus vector carrying the human MERS virus cellular receptor dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (hDPP4). The receptor was expressed on the surface of mouse lung alveolar epithelial cells. Receptor-bearing mice were susceptible to MERS, showed pathology, and had immune responses similar to those seen in humans and thus can be used to test vaccines and antiviral drug candidates.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111, 4970 (2014).

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