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Intervirology. 1995;38(1-2):100-12.

The woodchuck: an animal model for hepatitis B virus infection in man.

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Institute of Virology, University Clinics, Essen, Germany.


Since the discovery of woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) in 1978, the virus and its host, the American woodchuck, have been studied and used as the most suitable model for human hepatitis B virus infection. WHV is closely related to the human virus, having strong similarities in morphology, genome structure and gene products, replication, epidemiology, the course of infection and in the development of illness and hepatocellular carcinoma. Because of this high homology, the woodchuck model is used for many studies for the development of new vaccines, therapeutic vaccination and antiviral agents. In addition, the woodchuck system is used for investigation of molecular mechanisms of the viral life cycle, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis and cell infection.

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