MERS-CoV strains, including EMC and London strains, reportedly do not replicate in the respiratory tract of various strains of mice, including BALB/c, C57BL/6, and STAT 1-/-, or in aged (12- to 14-months old) BALB/c mice, or in 5-weeks-old golden Syrian hamsters or in ferrets. The receptor for the virus has been identified as a dipeptidyl peptidase 4. We propose to evaluate MERS-CoV in a range of species, including rats, cotton rats and guinea pigs, in order to develop a model that can be used to study the pathogenesis and immune response to the novel coronavirus. It is not known whether the novel coronavirus can replicate in these species.
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