Article CC BY 4.0

Animal models for COVID-19 and tuberculosis

Respiratory infections cause tremendous morbidity and mortality worldwide. Amongst these diseases, tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial illness caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis which often affects the lung, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), stand out as major drivers of epidemics of global concern. Despite their unrelated etiology and distinct pathology, these infections affect the same vital organ and share immunopathogenesis traits and an imperative demand to model the diseases at their various progression stages and localizations. Due to the clinical spectrum and heterogeneity of both diseases experimental infections were pursued in a variety of animal models. We summarize mammalian models employed in TB and COVID-19 experimental investigations, highlighting the diversity of rodent models and species peculiarities for each infection. We discuss the utility of non-human primates for translational research and emphasize on the benefits of non-conventional experimental models such as livestock. We epitomize advances facilitated by animal models with regard to understanding disease pathophysiology and immune responses. Finally, we highlight research areas necessitating optimized models and advocate that research of pulmonary infectious diseases could benefit from cross-fertilization between studies of apparently unrelated diseases, such as TB and COVID-19.



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