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  1. Ethical Science News

  2. Nov 13, 2020

Mini Lungs in a Dish Provide Key Insights About SARS-Cov-2 Infection

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.


Youk J, Kim T, Evans KV, et al. Three-Dimensional Human Alveolar Stem Cell Culture Models Reveal Infection Response to SARS-CoV-2. Cell Stem Cell. 2020; 27.

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