News Releases & Research Results Elucidation of the pathology of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection (COVID-19) / Development of prevention and treatment methods - Usefulness of Syrian hamsters as an animal model for infection

News Releases & Research Results


The results of collaborative research conducted by the research group of Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the Division of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, and others.

The key results of research are as follows:

  • Syrian hamsters infected with the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) showed pathological conditions similar to those found in humans, such as severe pneumonia symptoms. Thus, Syrian hamsters were found to be useful as an animal model for COVID-19 infection.
  • After the first infection with COVID-19, the hamsters became resistant to subsequent reinfection. Moreover, passive transfer of convalescent serum inhibited viral replication in the lung, even during the post-infection period.
  • The results of this research should facilitate the elucidation of the pathology of COVID-19 and the development of treatment and prevention methods.

This research was conducted with the support of the Research Program on Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases by AMED.

The results of this research were published online in the early edition of Proc Natl Acad Sci USA on June 23.


Imai M., et al. Syrian hamsters as a small animal model for SARS-CoV-2 infection and countermeasure development Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2009799117


Last updated 06/23/20