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  1. Ethical Science News

  2. Mar 31, 2020

Donated Human Tissue To Advance COVID-19 Research

Study in a Sentence: The UK Clinical Research Collaboration Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre is coordinating efforts to supply donated COVID-19 human tissue samples to biomedical researchers to advance COVID-19 research and to help improve diagnoses, to test new treatments, and to better understand how to prevent and manage the spread of disease.

Healthy for Humans: The use of human tissue in biomedical research is extremely valuable to investigate new therapies and vaccines and, in the past, has been critical for the development of other vaccines and therapies for viral pathogens such as HIV. Researchers need access to samples, from those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and broader population samples to study the disease and diseased tissues and to develop more physiologic models of infection and inflammation. 

Redefining Research: Organizations like Immundnz Ltd. are researching lung cell biology and associated immune response to combine nonclinical human in vitro models with viral studies to speed up the process of understanding the immunology behind COVID-19 disease. Other researchers around the globe are studying the use of donated blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19 as a possible antidote for the disease. Blood from recovered patients contains antibodies, and, unlike a drug or vaccine, it could be available immediately to people in need. As research continues, COVID-19 convalescent plasma is being rolled out in hospitals in New York to treat patients with life-threatening COVID-19 infections. 


  • “Response to COVID-19.” UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre, 29 March 2020, from:
  • Maxmen A. How blood from coronavirus survivors might save lives. Nature. 2020. doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00895-8.

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