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The threat of a pandemic outbreak of influenza A H5N1 and H2N2 has brought attention to the development of new vaccines. Regulatory authorities require companies to provide data proving the effectiveness of vaccines, which cannot, however, be based on real efficacy data in humans. A weight-of-evidence approach may be used, based on evidence of protection in an appropriate animal model and the satisfaction of the surrogate end points in the clinical situation. In this review, we will discuss various animal species that can be infected with influenza. The main animals used for testing vaccines destined for human use are laboratory mice and ferrets and, to a lesser extent, macaques. We will focus particularly on these species.
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