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Minipigs for vaccine testing

EARA members, from Denmark and France, have demonstrated how minipigs can help develop and test new vaccines against whooping cough.

At an Ellegaard Göttingen Minipigs online webinar last week, Sanofi Pasteur, explained how the minipig provides a good model for studying the long-term effects of the pertussis vaccine, used to protect children from whooping cough, compared to baboons which are the current preferred model.

Minipigs were vaccinated at a similar schedule to humans, and the immune cells and antibodies produced over the following six months showed a very similar profile to what is known in humans.

Asked about the potential of using minipigs as an alternative to non-human primates in testing other vaccines, Céline Vaure, of Sanofi, said it may be possible as ‘the immune system maturation in minipigs is more comparable to humans than in non-human primates’.


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