LUMC scientists study lung epithelium infection in corona

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The lung epithelium lines the airways and alveoli, and is the main cell type infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The team of Hiemstra and Van der Does will investigate how epithelium obtained from different anatomical locations (from nose to alveoli) responds to infection with SARS-CoV-2. They do this together with fellow researchers from the LUMC departments of Medical Microbiology, Parasitology, Cell and Chemical Biology and Intensive Care.

Differences in infection rate

The research team then examines whether there are large differences in the degree of infection and the subsequent response of the decreased epithelium. Also, lung epithelial responses to SARS-CoV-2 are compared with lung epithelial responses to other pathogenic coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and less pathogenic coronaviruses. “For example, we can investigate what makes the current coronavirus special and whether it infects the respiratory tract differently from other (corona) viruses. With that knowledge, we can also ultimately better understand the long-term consequences of the current coronavirus, ”explains Van der Does.

Investigating long-term lung damage

Part of the grant will be used to develop a Fibrosis Long-Chip. “This chip can be used in the near future to investigate long-term lung damage in COVID-19,” says Van der Does. “When developing the chip, we are trying to develop a model in which we can simulate the effects of the current coronavirus in patients as closely as possible. With this model, we then want to find out whether (long-term) lung damage can be inhibited or even prevented with the help of medication, for example. ”

By: Nationale Zorggids

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