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Table 4 Summary of studies using hamsters models of COVID-19

From: Evidence of a wide gap between COVID-19 in humans and animal models: a systematic review

age (gender)
Virus strain
(inoculation route)†
Clinical signs & observation duration
(DPI) §
Viral replication‡
Pathology & sacrificing date
Immune response Seroconversion
Outcome measures
Syrian hamsters
Chan et al. (2020) [57]
n = 8 SARS-CoV-2 Hong Kong Tachypnea Nose, trachea, lung Diffuse alveolar damage (exudative) Upregulation of Interferon-γ and proinflammatory chemokine, cytokine genes expression IgG antibody response against SARS-CoV-2
Viral transmission and immunoprophylaxis
Weight loss Intestine (high viral load¶) (2–7)
6–10 weeks (M/F)
105 PFU (IN) Lethargy   Apoptosis   
Ruffled furs Blood (low viral load) Diffuse alveolar damage (proliferative) Early convalescent serum Immunoprophylaxis decreased nasal and lung viral load but not lung pathology or clinical signs
Hunched back posture
Tissue repair
Intestinal villi damage and necrosis
Reduced spleen size (2–14)
(2, 4, 7, 14)
n = 8 Direct contact with donor Less weight loss than inoculated animals
No difference in viral load inoculated animals vs. infected animals via contact (4) No difference inoculated vs. infected by contact
(2, 4, 7, 14)
NA IgG antibody response against SARS-CoV-2
6–10 weeks (M/F) Inoculated with 100 ul of PBS
Syrian hamsters n = 6 (mAb CC12.1 or CC12.23) SARS-CoV-2 (USAWA1/2020) Weight loss dose-dependent
Reduced lung viral load NA
NA Neutralizing antibody
Immunoprophylaxis and therapy
1X106 PFU (IN)
12 h post-Ab infusion
Rogers et al. (2020) [58] n = 6
Control IgG1 (Den3)
SARS-CoV-2 (USAWA1/2020) Weight loss
No difference in lung viral loads control vs. low dose groups NA
1 × 106 PFU (IN)
12 h post-Ab infusion
Golden Syrian hamsters (n = 9))
4–5 weeks (M)
SARS-CoV-2 BetaCoV/Hong Kong/VM20001061/2020 Weight loss (6) Upper respiratory tract, nose, olfactory Inflammatory infiltrates nasal turbinate Progressive lung consolidation (5 to 60%) Mononuclear cell infiltration. CD3 positive T lymphocytes in peribronchial region (5) IgG antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 (14) Viral transmission
Ruffled hair coat (5)
Neurons, bronchus, lung No extrapulmonary pathology
Kidney, duodenum
8 × 104 TCID50 (IN)    No pathology in the intestine, spleen, heart, and brain (2, 5, 7)
(2, 5, 7)
Sia et al. (2020) [59] (n = 9) Infection via contact with donor hamster Weight loss (6) Detectable infectious viruses (9/9) NA NA IgG antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 (14)
4–5 weeks (M)   Ruffled hair coat day (4)
Day 1 post-contact
(Contact) No difference in viral shedding contact vs. donor
Syrian hamster (n = 7) SARS-CoV-2 (BetaCoV/Belgium/GHB03021/2020) NA
Lungs, blood, spleen, liver, upper & lower gastrointestinal tract Multifocal necrotizing bronchiolitis, Increased inflammation-related gene expression NA Host interferon response to SARS-CoV-2
Age: NA (F) 2 × 105 TCID50 (P4 virus) or 2 × 106 TCID50 (P6 virus) (IN)   Leukocyte infiltration  
Wild type Edema (4)
(2, 3, 4)
No increase in serum levels of IL-6, IL-10, and IFN-γ (4)
Hamster (STAT2−/− and IL28R-a −/−) strains (n = 7) Same as wild type NA
Greater levels of viral RNA in the lung, spleen, liver, blood, and upper and lower gastrointestinal tract in STAT2−/− hamster vs. WT and IL28ra−/− Lung pathology and inflammation decreased in (STAT2−/−) but not in IL28R-a−/− hamsters (2,3,4)
(2, 3, 4)
Increased IL-6 and IL-10 expression in lungs NA
7–12 weeks (F) No increase in serum levels of IL-6, IL-10, and IFN-γ (4)
Boudewijns et al. (2020) [56] (n = 7) Same as wild type NA
Lungs, blood, spleen, liver, upper, & lower gastrointestinal tract Bronchopneumonia and peribronchiolar inflammation (2,3,4)
(2, 3, 4)
High (MMP)-9 levels in lung homogenates compare to WT NA
5–7 weeks (F)
No differences in lung viral RNA levels in WT, vs. STAT2−/− vs. IL28R-a−/− hamsters Increased IL-6 and IL-
IL28R-a−/− 10 expression in lungs
No increase in serum levels of IL-6, IL-10 and IFNγ (4)
  1. *TCID50 Median Tissue Culture Infectious Dose at which 50% of the cells are infected, PFU plaque-forming unit, † IN intranasal, ‡ viral replication: RNA copies (PCR), and or viral antigen (immunostaining), viral particles (electron microscopy). § dpi day post-inoculation, ¶ mAb CC12.1 IP SARS-CoV-2-2-specific human neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, IgG1 (Den3) 2 mg of a dengue specific human IgG1