Laboratory-grown lungs simulate coronavirus infection

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Scientists have created a replica of the air passages and air sacs within the lung at the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory (NEIDL). It would help them better understand how COVID-19 attacks and damages the lungs. Indeed, the researchers can investigate and deduce how the virus injures healthy tissue without the need for dissection or a biopsy from the patient.

According to Adam Hume, senior research scientist at (NEIDL) , “With this model, we are able to get a better idea of what is going on in the lungs, which are the primary targets of infection.”

In fact, the scientific team can produce organoids, which are cells that mimic organ tissue without further complication or disruption to the patient. Hume and the team worked with the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Boston. Besides, they have experience creating artificial intestines and brains.

Moreover, the researchers deliver the organoids to (NEIDL) where the team infects the artificial tissue with the virus. They use plenty of PPE to protect all team members that are involved in the process. What is the advantage of this scientific approach?

Hume and the team aim to assess the replication speed of the virus within the lung cells and observe the way the body reacts to this infection to better understand the reason different patients show a range extreme symptoms.

What is more, scientists do not know why or how patients’ outcomes are so different upon infection with the virus. The research team hopes to learn from these experiments.

“Right now, this is just a model system for looking at infection in the lungs,” said Hume. “Next steps are to take these pathways and look at whether there are specific drugs that could target cellular pathways that might be important for virus replication.”

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