In 2012 a novel coronavirus, MERS-CoV, associated with severe respiratory disease emerged in the Arabian Peninsula. To date, 55 human cases have been reported, including 31 fatal cases. Several of the cases were likely a result of human-to-human transmission. The emergence of this novel coronavirus prompts the need for a small animal model to study the pathogenesis of this virus and to test the efficacy of potential intervention strategies. In this study we explored the use of Syrian hamsters as a small animal disease model, using intratracheal inoculation and inoculation via aerosol. Clinical signs of disease, virus replication, histological lesions, cytokine upregulation nor seroconversion were observed in any of the inoculated animals, indicating that MERS-CoV does not replicate in Syrian hamsters.,
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Wit, E., Prescott, C. A. J., Baseler, L., Bushmaker, T., Thomas, T., Lackemeyer, M., … Munster, V. (2013). The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Does Not Replicate in Syrian Hamsters. PLoS ONE, 8(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069127