Animal models for influenza virus pathogenesis, transmission, and immunology

Rajagowthamee R. Thangavel, Nicole M. Bouvier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


In humans, infection with an influenza A or B virus manifests typically as an acute and self-limited upper respiratory tract illness characterized by fever, cough, sore throat, and malaise. However, influenza can present along a broad spectrum of disease, ranging from sub-clinical or even asymptomatic infection to a severe primary viral pneumonia requiring advanced medical supportive care. Disease severity depends upon the virulence of the influenza virus strain and the immune competence and previous influenza exposures of the patient. Animal models are used in influenza research not only to elucidate the viral and host factors that affect influenza disease outcomes in and spread among susceptible hosts, but also to evaluate interventions designed to prevent or reduce influenza morbidity and mortality in man. This review will focus on the three animal models currently used most frequently in influenza virus research - mice, ferrets, and guinea pigs - and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-79
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2014


  • Animal model
  • Ferret
  • Guinea pig
  • Immunology
  • Influenza
  • Mouse


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