For the first time, scientists have developed a genetically altered mouse that can get infected with the form of Covid-19 seen in young, healthy people.
Researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, USA, made the mice produce a human protein that allows the virus to enter cells for infection. Previous infected mice models would simply die upon infection, making it hard for scientists to study the illness in depth.
The innovation was possible due to a new gene editing technique, created by the same team, called ‘genome writing’, which allows the alteration of larger segments of DNA, something not possible with existing techniques like CRISPR.
The team will now use these modified mice to study how the virus affects various groups, including individuals with diabetes, obesity, or those of different ages.
The original research article was published in Nature.