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Article

Syrian Hamsters Model Does Not Reflect Human-Like Disease after Aerosol Exposure to Encephalitic Alphaviruses

by
Christina L. Gardner
1,
Rebecca A. Erwin-Cohen
1,†,
Bridget S. Lewis
2,
Russell R. Bakken
1,
Shelley P. Honnold
2,
Pamela J. Glass
1,3 and
Crystal W. Burke
1,*
1
Virology Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Frederick, MD 21702, USA
2
Pathology Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Frederick, MD 21702, USA
3
Risk Management Office, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Frederick, MD 21702, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address; Office of Strategic Alliances, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), Rockville, MD 20850, USA.
Methods Protoc. 2024, 7(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/mps7030042
Submission received: 5 April 2024 / Revised: 6 May 2024 / Accepted: 13 May 2024 / Published: 15 May 2024
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Methods and Protocols 2024)

Abstract

Venezuelan (VEE), eastern (EEE), and western (WEE) equine encephalitis viruses are encephalitic New World alphaviruses that cause periodic epizootic and epidemic outbreaks in horses and humans that may cause severe morbidity and mortality. Currently there are no FDA-licensed vaccines or effective antiviral therapies. Each year, there are a limited number of human cases of encephalitic alphaviruses; thus, licensure of a vaccine or therapeutic would require approval under the FDA animal rule. Approval under the FDA animal rule requires the disease observed in the animal model to recapitulate what is observed in humans. Currently, initial testing of vaccines and therapeutics is performed in the mouse model. Unfortunately, alphavirus disease manifestations in a mouse do not faithfully recapitulate human disease; the VEEV mouse model is lethal whereas in humans VEEV is rarely lethal. In an effort to identify a more appropriate small animal model, we evaluated hamsters in an aerosol exposure model of encephalitic alphavirus infection. The pathology, lethality, and viremia observed in the infected hamsters was inconsistent with what is observed in NHP models and humans. These data suggest that hamsters are not an appropriate model for encephalitic alphaviruses to test vaccines or potential antiviral therapies.
Keywords: alphavirus; hamsters; aerosol; animal model; Venezuelan equine encephalitis; eastern equine encephalitis; western equine encephalitis alphavirus; hamsters; aerosol; animal model; Venezuelan equine encephalitis; eastern equine encephalitis; western equine encephalitis

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Gardner, C.L.; Erwin-Cohen, R.A.; Lewis, B.S.; Bakken, R.R.; Honnold, S.P.; Glass, P.J.; Burke, C.W. Syrian Hamsters Model Does Not Reflect Human-Like Disease after Aerosol Exposure to Encephalitic Alphaviruses. Methods Protoc. 2024, 7, 42. https://doi.org/10.3390/mps7030042

AMA Style

Gardner CL, Erwin-Cohen RA, Lewis BS, Bakken RR, Honnold SP, Glass PJ, Burke CW. Syrian Hamsters Model Does Not Reflect Human-Like Disease after Aerosol Exposure to Encephalitic Alphaviruses. Methods and Protocols. 2024; 7(3):42. https://doi.org/10.3390/mps7030042

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gardner, Christina L., Rebecca A. Erwin-Cohen, Bridget S. Lewis, Russell R. Bakken, Shelley P. Honnold, Pamela J. Glass, and Crystal W. Burke. 2024. "Syrian Hamsters Model Does Not Reflect Human-Like Disease after Aerosol Exposure to Encephalitic Alphaviruses" Methods and Protocols 7, no. 3: 42. https://doi.org/10.3390/mps7030042

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