Scientists at the Institute of Cytology and genetics, Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FIC ICG SB RAS, Novosibirsk) are working on the creation of mice that are susceptible to the new coronavirus to further test their vaccines and drugs from COVID-19, the first transgenic mouse will be available in June.
“We are participating in the project on creation of the animals, the laboratory mouse which would be susceptible to a new virus. It is no secret that this virus jumped from bats, but unfortunately, it does not infect our favorite lab animals – rats and mice. This is a big problem, because preclinical testing easier, faster, safer and cheaper it would be to spend on animals”, – told reporters on Tuesday head of the laboratory for developmental genetics ICG SB RAS, Nariman Batulin.
The scientist explained that the specialists of the Institute took up the task of modifying the genome of laboratory mice. To Finance the project, they wrote a grant application to the Russian Foundation for basic research (RFBR), who have already responded. Now scientists are waiting for the approval of the application and receipt of funding.
“The process of creating such animals is quite long, but we brainstorm and formulate several ways you can solve this problem as quickly as possible. Now the project started, the first operation on the mice was taken last weekend… We expect the first birth of these pups will be in June,” said Batulin.
He noted that with supersovremennom technologies of artificial insemination, scientists hope to increase the number of mice needed for testing the level of hundreds or thousands of individuals – by the fall of this year.
“I hope that by September-October we will be able to provide our leading virologic centre “the Vector” of these animals and we will be able to start full pre-clinical scientific research. It is very important to look at the virus strains in vitro, the virus interacts with drugs, but a living organism – a very high bar and in vitro it is not to play” – said the scientist.
Betulin explained that on the surface of every cell in the body there are proteins which can interact with the virus. The coronavirus protein is suitable to a specific person as the key to the lock, and then enters the cell. The mouse this protein is slightly different – it does not let the virus. The task of scientists is to replace this protein from mouse to human, thus creating animals that will be infected COVID-19.
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