Animal models for human health Contract research Organization (CRO)

Animal models for human health

Many animal models developed within Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) provide insights into human health issues. We offer more insight into the epidemiology, transmission and pathogenesis of zoonoses in animal and human cases. In addition, our animal models can be used for translational clinical and preclinical studies into human diseases.

These approaches perfectly fit our mission to contribute to welfare and prosperity by safeguarding animal and public health.


About 70% of all known infectious diseases and "new" emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic. To improve preparedness for emerging and re-emerging zoonoses, we have developed techniques for rapid detection of new and emerging pathogens in animals to prevent their spread to the public as well as rapid risk assessment of potential microbiological hazards to adequately control new and emerging diseases. Animal models can contribute insights into the pathogenesis, shedding and spreading of zoonotic agents.

Available animal models for different zoonoses:

Translational models

The success of drug development for human diseases heavily depends on the suitability of the animal models applied. An animal model for a human disease can never exactly reproduce the complex disease traits in humans. However, a good animal model for translational medicine can contribute valuable information, like drug discovery or validation. We offer several models for translational medicine.

Animal models available for translational medicine:

(Bovine) Respiratory Syncytial Virus model

Our (bovine) Respiratory Syncytial Virus model in calves is very representative for (human) Respiratory Syncytial Virus infections in babies. Our model in calves shows age-dependent clinical symptoms similar to the ones observed in humans after hRSV infection. Therefore, with our model the severity of the infection can be qualified and quantified by using different read out parameters. The RSV calf model can be used to evaluate effectiveness and safety of prophylactic vaccines and preventive therapeutics.

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COVID-19 model in Syrian hamsters

To evaluate the effect of newly developed interventions against the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, animal models are essential. Wageningen Bioveterinary Research has set-up an infection model in Syrian hamsters. A Dutch SARS-CoV-2 isolate representative for the pandemic outbreak is used to infect the hamsters.

Clostridium difficile infection model (C. difficile)

Recently, a Clostridium difficile infection model was developed in pigs that induces a dysbiosis in pigs. This model is very suitable to study the effects of microbiota management to control C. difficile infections.

Mouse model

A mouse model can predict the outcome of Influenza vaccination in humans. By transferring sera of vaccinated human volunteers to mice, the effect of immunization can be demonstrated after a challenge with human Influenza Virus in mice. In this way the effect of vaccination in humans can be screened in a mouse challenge model.

Is your model not listed?

If your model of interest is not listed, please contact our experts Riks Maas (virological models) or Astrid de Greeff (bacterial models). Due to our broad expertise, we can facilitate the fast development of custom made animal models.