Study in a Sentence: Using the human 3D BrainSphere model derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, researchers were able to infect the model with SARS-CoV-2 and found the expression of ACE2, a key enzyme that the novel coronavirus uses to enter the lungs, suggesting the virus can infect human brain cells.
Healthy for Humans: Early reports suggest that 36% of patients with COVID-19 show neurological symptoms, most notably loss of sense of smell, but it has been unclear what impact the virus has on human brain cells. Understanding if and how SARS-CoV-2 infects brain cells and what disease or injury it causes is critical in understanding the potential long-term impacts of the virus. Clear answers are necessary to steer treatments and advise public guidance.
Redefining Research: The findings presented in this study are another key piece in learning how COVID-19 causes infection and leads to symptoms and illness. Using BrainSpheres and other human biology-based models, researchers can adapt the drug development process to tackle this virus with effective therapeutics.