Research swine are playing an important role in the global fight against COVID-19, with live animal models helping to both create a vaccine and address the worldwide ventilator shortage.
As reported on The Pig Site, researchers from three organizations in Great Britain — the Pirbright Institute, the University of Oxford and Public Health England — have begun collaborating on testing vaccines that may create antibodies that can protect against COVID-19.
Oxford will develop vaccine candidates containing the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2, which is the protein protective antibodies generated against in infected patients.
Once the pigs are vaccinated, Pirbright researchers will measure the number of antibodies produced and determine whether they can prevent SARS-CoV-2 from infecting cells.
As we’ve noted in previous blog posts, the biological similarity between pigs and humans is crucial here. Because the porcine immune system mirrors the human immune system, a good response by pigs to a vaccine can indicate how effective it will be for humans.
“This work is a fantastic collaboration between world-leading medical and veterinary scientists in immunology, virology and molecular biology,” said Dr Toby Tuthill, Head of the Virus Program at Pirbright.
“It will provide an evaluation of new SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in a relevant model and will also generate a panel of antibody-based tools which will help us understand virus structure and how it stimulates the immune response. These antibodies could also be developed as additional novel therapeutics to treat COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, live animal models are playing an important role in the development of an open-source ventilator called the MIT E-Vent. Ventilators are crucial for helping patients with severe cases of COVID-19.
The E-Vent, based on a project from the MIT Precision Machine Design course, is a manual ventilator that medical personnel would operate by hand.
The project — designed for rural areas and developing nations — was abandoned nearly a decade ago but has been revived due to the current ventilator shortage and submitted to the FDA. The FDA is using pigs to test the ventilator.
Animal Biotech is proud of the role our company has played in this type of research. And we want our clients and prospective clients to know that we’re fully operational during this crisis, able to support your research needs with our complete inventory of live animal models, pig tissue and blood products.
We’ve been deemed an essential operation and can provide you with:
- Research swine in all weight categories
- Immediate service to your location
- Porcine live animal models for ventilator testing
Finally, we want to thank all the doctors, nurses, care teams and healthcare professionals looking after patients during this global pandemic. Your courage inspires us.