Mini lung helps with coronavirus research

July 3, 2020

Stem cell biologist Hans Clevers and his research group at the Hubrecht Institute have made important progress in the fight against the coronavirus. Together with researchers from the Erasmus Medical Centre and Maastricht University, Clevers has succeeded in infecting mini versions of human intestines cultured in the lab, with SARS-CoV-2. Clevers published his research in the renowned journal, Science.

The next step in this innovative research is to infect the mini lung as well. Both intestinal and pulmonary epithelium contain so-called ACE2 receptors. These play a key role in the disease process because the virus penetrates through these receptors. This provides important knowledge about how the virus attacks the lungs and paves the way for the safe testing of medicines. The Lung Foundation Netherlands (Longfonds) co-finances the development of the so-called 'mini lung'. "Our role as the driving force and co-financier of this state-of-the-art technique is now also proving relevant in corona research. Research is fundamental to enable real solutions to lung diseases. We are proud that, thanks to the pioneering research within the LONGFONDS | Accelerate research programme, we are also making a direct contribution to the fight against corona," says Longfonds director Michael Rutgers.

Prof.dr. Hans Clevers (Hubrecht Institute) is the leader of the LONGFONDS | Accelerate Lung Regeneration Consortium together with prof.dr. Carla Kim (Harvard Medical School / Boston Children’s Hospital).