The pig: a model for human infectious diseases

Trends Microbiol. 2012 Jan;20(1):50-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2011.11.002. Epub 2011 Dec 5.


An animal model to study human infectious diseases should accurately reproduce the various aspects of disease. Domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) are closely related to humans in terms of anatomy, genetics and physiology, and represent an excellent animal model to study various microbial infectious diseases. Indeed, experiments in pigs are much more likely to be predictive of therapeutic treatments in humans than experiments in rodents. In this review, we highlight the numerous advantages of the pig model for infectious disease research and vaccine development and document a few examples of human microbial infectious diseases for which the use of pigs as animal models has contributed to the acquisition of new knowledge to improve both animal and human health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Sus scrofa*
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Vaccines