SARS-CoV-2 Viral Replication in a High Throughput Human Primary Epithelial Airway Organ Model


COVID-19 emerged as a worldwide pandemic early in 2020, and at this writing has caused over 170 million cases and 3.7 million deaths worldwide, and almost 600,000 deaths in the United States. The rapid development of several safe and highly efficacious vaccines stands as one of the most extraordinary achievements in modern medicine, but the identification and administration of efficacious therapeutics to treat patients suffering from COVID-19 has been far less successful. A major factor limiting progress in the development of effective treatments has been a lack of suitable preclinical models for the disease, currently reliant upon various animal models and in vitro culture of immortalized cell lines. Here we report the first successful demonstration of SARS-CoV-2 infection and viral replication in a human primary cell-based organ-on-chip, leveraging a recently developed tissue culture platform known as PREDICT96. This successful demonstration of SARS-CoV-2 infection in human primary airway epithelial cells derived from a living donor represents a powerful new pathway for disease modeling and an avenue for screening therapeutic candidates in a high throughput platform.