【Drugs and Therapeutics】 ‘Organ-on-a-Chip’ advances COVID-19 drug tests and research

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器官模擬晶片有望加速新冠肺炎藥物研發

 ▲"Organ-on-a-Chip" advances COVID-19 drug tests and research (sources: Freepik)

 

Although the coronavirus outbreak is relatively contained in many countries, it didn’t stop researchers from finding cures for COVID-19. The research team at the Wyss Institute of Harvard University is using Organ-on-a-chip (Organ Chip) to conduct drug trial and COVID-19 research.

Scientists have been working on different Organ Chips to replace animal testing on drug developments before the outbreak. The lung-emulating organ chip developed by the Wyss Institute team becomes a helpful research tool during the pandemic. The team tries to implement this thumb-sized Lung Chip on drug testing to find antiviral treatment for the disease.

In addition to drug trial, the Lung Chip can also simulate human's immune system reaction after the infection, which could give researchers a clearer insight in the epidemiology of the disease and the characteristics of the coronavirus.

In fact, the Lung Chip is not the only organ chip being developed. The Organ Chips under development include University of Pennsylvania research team's "eye-on-a-chip", which mimics human's eye movements, and Northwestern University research team's "EVATAR" that can simulate female menstrual cycle.

Facing COVID-19, research teams around the world are dedicating in pandemic research, which also stimulates the future development on novel biotechnology and drives the world’s R&D energy forward.

References:
Boettner, B. "The Wyss Institute's response to COVID-19: Beating back the coronavirus", The Wyss Institute Website, April 6, 2020. Available from: https://wyss.harvard.edu/news/news-the-wyss-institutes-response-to-covid-19-beating-back-the-coronavirus/ 

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