Animal models of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 for the development of prophylactic and therapeutic interventions

Marcel Renn, Eva Bartok, Thomas Zillinger, Gunther Hartmann, Rayk Behrendt

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Infections of the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 continue to spread around the globe, causing Coronavirus Disease (COVID)-19. Infected people are at risk of developing acute interstitial pneumonia, which can result in lethal complications, particularly in patients with pre-existing co-morbidities. Novel prophylactic and therapeutic interventions are urgently needed to limit the infection-associated health risk for the population and to contain the pandemic. Animal models are indispensable to assessing the efficacy and safety of potential new antivirals, vaccines, and other innovative therapies, such as nucleic acid agonists of innate immune sensing receptors. In this review, we provide an overview of the commonly used animal models to study SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, including a summary of their susceptibility to infection, the spectrum of symptoms elicited, and the potential for drug development in each model. We hope that this review will help researchers to decide on the right model organism to quickly address their specific scientific questions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107931
JournalPharmacology & Therapeutics
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • SARS-CoV-2
  • COVID-19
  • Animal models
  • Virus
  • Vaccine
  • Antiviral immunity
  • SARS
  • MICE

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