Study in a Sentence: Using donated human lung tissue, researchers established a 3D human alveolar stem cell culture model to study SARS-CoV-2 infection, revealing molecular signatures of the immune response and pathogenesis of COVID-19.
Healthy for Humans: Highly detailed characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 infection in its target cells, including mechanisms of cell entry, viral replication, and host response, must be understood to advance COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. However, a lack of experimental models that replicate human lung physiology and pathology has hampered such efforts.
Redefining Research: This mini lung model has chemically defined cell culture conditions that support long-term, feeder-free experiments, enabling longitudinal monitoring. Transmission electron microscopy imaging and single-cell RNA sequencing of the mini lungs revealed high-resolution details of the innate human immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.