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Immunopathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 variants in a feline model

Tamil Selvan, Miruthula
SARS-CoV-2 is a rapidly spreading virus that causes immune disturbances leading to cytokine storm and eventually organ failure. The advent of new technology, vaccines, and antiviral drugs has helped to mitigate the spread of the causative virus, but the development of severe disease still exists; and there are gaps in the development of animal models that accurately re-capitulate viral pathogenesis and disease progression as in humans. Chapter 1 provides a comprehensive literature review of the origin, mutation, pathogenesis, potential treatments and role of animal models of SARS-CoV-2. Chapter 2 of this dissertation details the validation of the feline model for SARS-CoV-2 infection, which resulted in successful outcomes and provided a foundation for optimization. Chapter 3 sought to further develop experimental methodology and better understand the infection kinetics and immunopathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 (Delta variant) in cats to evaluate potential immune modulatory gene targets. Chapter 4 aims to demonstrate the potential therapeutic significance of targeting interferon-1 immunomodulatory genes using siRNA to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 infection. Collectively, this research underscores the significance of the feline model in COVID-19 research for the development of effective treatments. It also highlights the importance of understanding immune responses and identifying novel potential targets for intervention, thereby paving the way for future investigations in this field.