Improving immunological insights into the ferret model of human viral infectious disease

Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2019 Nov;13(6):535-546. doi: 10.1111/irv.12687. Epub 2019 Oct 3.


Ferrets are a well-established model for studying both the pathogenesis and transmission of human respiratory viruses and evaluation of antiviral vaccines. Advanced immunological studies would add substantial value to the ferret models of disease but are hindered by the low number of ferret-reactive reagents available for flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Nevertheless, progress has been made to understand immune responses in the ferret model with a limited set of ferret-specific reagents and assays. This review examines current immunological insights gained from the ferret model across relevant human respiratory diseases, with a focus on influenza viruses. We highlight key knowledge gaps that need to be bridged to advance the utility of ferrets for immunological studies.

Keywords: ferret; immunology; influenza.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Ferrets / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity / genetics
  • Immunity / immunology
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology
  • Influenza, Human / immunology
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / transmission
  • Orthomyxoviridae / immunology*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / prevention & control
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / transmission
  • Virus Diseases / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / prevention & control
  • Virus Diseases / transmission


  • Influenza Vaccines