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COVID-19 Update from StageBio

Coronavirus Pandemic: A Critical Role for Animal Models

One of the most urgent public health concerns of 2020 is the worldwide coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2/SARS-CoV-2, or coronavirus disease 19/COVID-19) pandemic.  StageBio is actively engaged in research with the goal of finding a vaccine.  Please reach out to our dedicated team of scientists if a partnership can bring us closer to finding a solution in this uncertain time.

COVID-19, an enveloped positive-strand RNA virus, represents the third coronavirus to cross species from animals to humans and cause a major epidemic in just the past two decades, following SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2012.  While the animal origin of COVID-19 is uncertain at this time, other related coronaviruses circulate in bats, voles, rats, mice, and hedgehogs (Gorbalenya et al., 2020).  Responding to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak will require the cooperation of scientific researchers, medical personnel, and public health experts from across the globe.

Preclinical animal models are of high importance in the development of vaccines and therapeutics against respiratory diseases like COVID-19.  Ferrets are one of the most popular animal models of viral respiratory disease based on similar lung physiology to humans and have been used extensively to study SARS-CoV and influenza, making them an attractive choice for COVID-19 research.  Monkeys, rats, hamsters, and mice are also valuable laboratory species in the context of infectious disease research.

Our team has worked with animal models of SARS-CoV, Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 (HPAI), Seasonal influenza and influenza A(H1N1), Swine influenza A H1N1, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and Measles Virus in the context of disease pathogenesis and natural history, vaccine safety and efficacy, prophylactic measures, and post-exposure therapeutics.   We are a trusted partner in the development of novel vaccines, antivirals, monoclonal antibodies, and antibiotics, having worked under the guidance of the FDA Animal Rule.  In addition to routine histopathology, we have two fully functional investigational pathology laboratories with capability to perform IHC, IF, and other molecular pathology techniques.

The StageBio team also has expertise in animal models of Ebola Virus, Sudan virus, Pirital Virus, Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Yersinia pestis (Plague), Francisella tularensis (Tularemia), Burkholderia mallei (Glanders), Burkholderia pseudomallei (Melioidosis), Monkeypox, Cowpox, Adenovirus, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, Polio Virus, Ectromelia Virus and Plasmodium gallinaceum (Malaria).

If the StageBio team of scientists can help or engage with any partner to move COVID-19 research forward we are willing and able to do so.

Special thanks to Katherine Knostman, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Julie Hutt DVM, PhD, DACVP, and Matthew Buccellato, DVM, PhD, DACVP, to provide updates.  Thanks to April Paulman, DVM, PhD, DACVP and Sherry Morgan, DVM, PhD specifically for engaging in vaccine research. 

Gorbalenya, A.E., Baker, S.C., Baric, R.S. et al. The species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus: classifying 2019-nCoV and naming it SARS-CoV-2. Nat Microbiol (2020).

For further information contact:
Sam Jeffrey
Chief of Staff


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