Animal models for SARS and MERS coronaviruses

Curr Opin Virol. 2015 Aug;13:123-9. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2015.06.009. Epub 2015 Jul 14.


The emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), two strains of animal coronaviruses that crossed the species barrier to infect and cause severe respiratory infections in humans within the last 12 years, have taught us that coronaviruses represent a global threat that does not recognize international borders. We can expect to see other novel coronaviruses emerge in the future. An ideal animal model should reflect the clinical signs, viral replication and pathology seen in humans. In this review, we present factors to consider in establishing an animal model for the study of novel coronaviruses and compare the different animal models that have been employed to study SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / genetics
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / physiology*
  • SARS Virus / genetics
  • SARS Virus / physiology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology*