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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2010 Jan;9(1):59-72. doi: 10.1586/erv.09.148.

Animal models for the preclinical evaluation of candidate influenza vaccines.

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Department of Virology, Erasmus Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


At present, new influenza A (H1N1)2009 viruses of swine origin are responsible for the first influenza pandemic of the 21st Century. In addition, highly pathogenic avian influenza A/H5N1 viruses continue to cause outbreaks in poultry and, after zoonotic transmission, cause an ever-increasing number of human cases, of which 59% have a fatal clinical outcome. It is also feared that these viruses adapt to replication in humans and become transmissible from human to human. The development of effective vaccines against epidemic and (potentially) pandemic viruses is therefore considered a priority. In this review, we discuss animal models that are used for the preclinical evaluation of novel candidate influenza vaccines. In most cases, a tier of multiple animal models is used before the evaluation of vaccine candidates in clinical trials is considered. Commonly, vaccines are tested for safety and efficacy in mice, ferrets and/or macaques. The use of each of these species has its advantages and limitations, which are addressed here.

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