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  1. Ethical Science News

  2. Jul 7, 2020

Human Stem Cells Used to Study SARS-CoV-2 Infection of the Heart

Study in a Sentence: Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the University of California used human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes to demonstrate how SARS-CoV-2 can directly infect heart cells in vitro, suggesting that cardiac-specific antiviral therapeutics should be explored. 

Healthy for Humans: The most predominant indicators of COVID-19 have been respiratory symptoms, however, cardiac complications such as arrhythmias and heart failure are also widely reported. Investigators have created a human heart model to learn the mechanisms of how the virus functions, to demonstrate how the heart could also be directly affected by the virus, and to provide a cardiac-specific antiviral drug screening platform. 

Redefining Research: Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes are tissue-specific cells that can be used in research and for developing and testing potential disease treatments. These cells have shown great promise as a model for studying the mechanisms of viral infections and may help in the discovery of new therapeutics to treat viral infections of the heart, including SARS-CoV-2. 


Sharma A, Garcia G, Wang Y, Plummer JT, Morizono K, Arumugaswami V, et al. Human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes are susceptible to SARSCoV-2 infection. Cell Reports Medicine. 2020. 

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