Mouse Model Host for SARS-CoV-2

Illustration of coronavirus

Animal models of COVID-19 will play an essential role in developing and testing vaccines and therapies for this disease, but only a very limited number of these models are currently available. The SARS-CoV-2 virus needs to bind to the human ACE2 receptor to enter cells, and so the virus in not able to infect and cause disease in laboratory mice.

Led by Michael Koob, PhD, associate professor, Department of Lab Medicine and Pathology, researchers in this study will make new mouse models that precisely mimic the same ACE2 gene expression found in humans, and will partner with JAX labs to rapidly establish breeding colonies to make these models available worldwide.

“We have pioneered and optimized the methods needed to conduct these gene-replacement projects, and do not know of any other lab in the world that can currently match our ability to do this work,” said Koob.

This project is supported by the UMN Campus Public Health Officer's CO:VID (Collaborative Outcomes: Visionary Innovation & Discovery) grants program, which support University of Minnesota faculty to catalyze and energize small-scale research projects designed to address and mitigate the COVID-19 virus and its associated risks.