Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived lung epithelial system for SARS-CoV-2 infection modeling and its potential in drug repurposing

Stem Cells and Development
Harshini SurendranRajarshi Pal


The lung is the most vulnerable target for the SARS-CoV-2 infection and respiratory failure causing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is its foremost outcome. However, the current primary in vitro models in use for SARS-CoV-2 display apparent limitations for modeling such complex human respiratory disease. While patient cells can directly model the effects of a drug, their availability and capacity for expansion are limited compared to the transformed/immortalized cells or the tumor-derived cell lines. What's more, the latter may harbor genetic and metabolic abnormalities in the course of their derivation, making them unsuitable for drug screening. Therefore, it is important to create physiologically relevant human-cell models that can replicate the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2, thus, facilitating drug testing. Here, we show preliminary data on how human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC)-based lung epithelial cell system could emerge as a relevant and sensitive platform for modelling SARS-CoV-2 infection and drug screening.


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Scanning electron microscopy

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