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  1. Ethical Science News

  2. Jul 30, 2020

Human Intestinal Organoids as a Model for SARS-CoV-2 Infection in the Gut

Study in a Sentence: Researchers generated human small intestinal organoids (hSIOs) that were readily infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to serve as an experimental model for studying infection and pathogenesis in the gut.

Healthy for Humans: SARS-CoV-2 commonly infects the respiratory tract, but it can also infect the gastrointestinal system, causing patients to present with symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Studying the virus’s transmission and biological effects in accurate models of various human body systems is important for understanding the full picture of COVID-19 and developing effective treatments.

Redefining Research: Coronavirus transmission and pathogenesis have historically been difficult study because of a lack of experimental systems that recapitulate human disease biology. With these human intestinal organoids, researchers have begun to understand SARS-CoV-2 biology in the gut by analyzing microscopic imaging, virology measures, and gene expression patterns.


Lamers MM, Beumer J, van der Vaart J, et al. SARS-CoV-2 productively infects human gut enterocytes. Science. 2020.

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