Woodchuck Model for HBV Vaccine Development

The woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) can be used as an animal model for pathogenesis and therapy of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and human disease. Creative Biolabs provides chronic WHV carrier woodchuck model to support the clinical development of new vaccines, antivirals and combination therapies for the treatment of chronic HBV infection.

Woodchuck Model

The Eastern Marmot (Marmota monax) is naturally infected by the woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) that was found in 1978. WHV was found to be closely related to HBV and was classified as the second member of the genus hepadnaviridae. In contrast to HBV-associated HCC in patients without a preferred HBV DNA integration site, frequent integration of the WHV genome with the N-myc and c-myc genes was observed in the woodchucks developing HCC. Several WHV strains have been identified, which are genetically very closely related but may cause different proportions of chronic infections in neonatal woodchucks. WHV has been widely used in the simulation of HBV infection and antiviral therapy.

Pictures of eastern woodchuck M. monax (a) and M. himalayana (b). Himalayan marmots are closely related to the woodchucks and can be infected with WHV. They are about the size of a large housecat and live in colonies.

Fig.1 Pictures of eastern woodchuck M. monax (a) and M. himalayana (b). Himalayan marmots are closely related to the woodchucks and can be infected with WHV. They are about the size of a large housecat and live in colonies. (Kosinska AD. 2015)

The molecular characteristics of WHV and the infection of woodchucks with the WHV are of great value in simulating several aspects of human hepadnaviral infection. Early woodchuck studies also involved conventional vaccine testing to prevent acute, self-limited WHV infection in neonates and adult woodchucks, as well as chronic outcomes and HCC in vaccinated neonates.

WHV-Infected Woodchuck Model for Testing Experimental Vaccines

With the progress in the characterization of the woodchuck immune system and the advancement in specific immunological assays, the woodchuck has become a useful preclinical animal model for the development of new treatments for chronic hepadnaviral infection as well as an attractive model for experimental vaccines. Immunomodulatory methods using therapeutic vaccines can be tested directly in chronic WHV carriers. To date, several studies on experimental vaccines have been conducted in woodchucks. including conventional vaccines, DNA vaccines, as well as adjuvants for subsequent therapeutic vaccination of chronic WHV-carrying woodchucks. Antibody responses against WHsAg or WHcAg were induced in these studies and partial or full protection against viral infections and diseases by challenge with WHV was observed.

Our Services

Creative Biolabs provides WHV-infected woodchuck model to assist you with the HBV vaccine development. Some of the Creative Biolabs’ contract services including but not limited to:

  • Process development and implementation.
  • Establishment of woodchuck breeding colonies.
  • Laboratory-reared woodchucks infected with defined WHV inocula.
  • Multiple forms of administration (oral, intravenous and so on).
  • Collection, storage, and transportation of blood samples.
  • Preclinical efficacy study.
  • Hematologic and routine blood chemistry analysis.
  • WHV virological assays: levels of woodchuck hepatitis surface antigen (WHsAg), anti-woodchuck hepatitis surface (WHs), anti-woodchuck hepatitis core (WHc) antibodies in serum samples, intrahepatic WHV nucleic acids, etc.

Creative Biolabs’ WHV-infected woodchuck provides an ideal animal model to support the clinical development of new vaccines. Various assessments can be performed according to your specific research needs. Please feel free to contact us for more details.


  1. Kosinska AD; et al. Therapeutic vaccination and immunomodulation in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B: preclinical studies in the woodchuck. Med Microbiol Immunol. 2015, 204(1): 103-14.

Our services are for research use only. We do not provide services directly to individuals.

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Tel: 1-631-466-5530
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