LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – As previously announced in an article by Utah State University, recent research studies which resulted from collaborations with the college’s very own Professor Zhongde Wang have been nationally recognized and published in two separate scientific journals. 

The first research study supports the understanding of the COVID-19 disease course, or the process of the virus from the point of inception to the point of resolution. The second research study investigates how mutations of the coronavirus, specifically the omicron variant, allow the virus to enter and affect human cells. 

A key factor of success in both collaborations was the use of a hamster model. 

The first study, published in Nature, identified the hamster as the first animal model that has proven to be highly susceptible to the Omicron variant, showing signs of symptoms like weight loss, and in severe cases, death. 

The other study, done in collaboration with The U.S. Army and published in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology revealed that the human ACE2 gene caused the hamster to become highly susceptible to previous strains of COVID-19 and led to the development of a more lethal disease. 

These findings will aid in further explanation of the virus’s interaction with the central nervous system, and will go on to support the advancement of vaccines and alternative methods of remission.