Why do we use guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs have biological similarities to humans, which make them useful in many fields of research. They have been used as experimental animals for centuries; hence the term 'guinea pig' for a human experimental subject. Since vitamin C was discovered through research on guinea pigs, they have been important in nutritional research, and were also crucial to the development of: vaccines for diphtheria, TB, replacement heart valves, blood transfusion, kidney dialysis, antibiotics, anticoagulants and asthma medicines.

Information adapted from AnimalResearch.info

What do we study?

Cambridge researchers are using guinea pigs in work to find potential vaccines against viral diseases including Ebola, Lassa Fever, influenza viruses and Coronaviruses. New and improved vaccines are needed against emerging diseases, as well as against existing infectious diseases where existing vaccines do not offer 100% protection or where protection is only short-lived. The aim is to identify vaccine candidates that will be taken into clinical trials in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies. Animal models can establish that a potential vaccine provides protection against disease before it is trialed in humans. (See also: Hamsters).