The main advantage of animal models of infectious diseases over in vitro studies is the gain in the understanding of the complex dynamics between the immune system and the pathogen. While small animal models have practical advantages over large animal models, it is crucial to be aware of their limitations. Although the small animal model at least needs to be susceptible to the pathogen under study to obtain meaningful data, key elements of pathogenesis should also be reflected when compared to humans. Well-designed small animal models for HIV, hepatitis viruses and tuberculosis require, additionally, a thorough understanding of the similarities and differences in the immune responses between humans and small animals and should incorporate that knowledge into the goals of the study. To discuss these considerations, the NIAID hosted a workshop on ‘Small Animal Models for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Tuberculosis’ on May 30, 2019. Highlights of the workshop are outlined below.
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