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Front Microbiol. 2016 Feb 4;7:80. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00080. eCollection 2016.

Using the Ferret as an Animal Model for Investigating Influenza Antiviral Effectiveness.

Author information

1
WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, MelbourneVIC, Australia; School of Applied and Biomedical Sciences, Federation University Australia, GippslandVIC, Australia.
2
WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, MelbourneVIC, Australia; Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, ParkvilleVIC, Australia.

Abstract

The concern of the emergence of a pandemic influenza virus has sparked an increased effort toward the development and testing of novel influenza antivirals. Central to this is the animal model of influenza infection, which has played an important role in understanding treatment effectiveness and the effect of antivirals on host immune responses. Among the different animal models of influenza, ferrets can be considered the most suitable for antiviral studies as they display most of the human-like symptoms following influenza infections, they can be infected with human influenza virus without prior viral adaptation and have the ability to transmit influenza virus efficiently between one another. However, an accurate assessment of the effectiveness of an antiviral treatment in ferrets is dependent on three major experimental considerations encompassing firstly, the volume and titer of virus, and the route of viral inoculation. Secondly, the route and dose of drug administration, and lastly, the different methods used to assess clinical symptoms, viral shedding kinetics and host immune responses in the ferrets. A good understanding of these areas is necessary to achieve data that can accurately inform the human use of influenza antivirals. In this review, we discuss the current progress and the challenges faced in these three major areas when using the ferret model to measure influenza antiviral effectiveness.

KEYWORDS:

animal model; antiviral; effectiveness; ferret; influenza

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