The Mini Lungs and Other Organoids Helping to Beat COVID

May 26, 2021

(Nature) – Shuibing Chen spent close to two months tending to her mini lungs — some half a million of them. Each one looked like a tiny storm cloud, ensconced in a warm dish and protected by a jelly-like dome. Chen, a stem-cell biologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and her team had nurtured them from clumps of human cells, adding nutrients every few days as they grew into 3D air sacs. These lung organoids matured until they reached the size of a lentil. Then, the team packed them up and transported them just a few blocks away, to a laboratory authorized to work with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. There, the organoids were drowned in virus and each was doused with one of 15,000 drugs. Almost all of the mini lungs died, but a few of the drugs stemmed the infection — representing a handful of possible treatments for COVID-19. (Read Full Article)