3DBio scales up spheroid bioprinting to accelerate research on anti-COVID-19 drugs

To accelerate the transition from preclinical studies with laboratory animals to clinical studies with humans, specialists at the biotechnological research laboratory 3D Bioprinting Solutions (3DBio) developed a method for the scalable production of 3D spheroids in the quantities necessary to accurately determine the specific activity of pharmacological molecules in the body of COVID-19 infected patients, thus accelerating the discovery process for anti-COVID-19 drugs.

A549 and Calu-3 (human lung adenocarcinomas), CaCo-2 (human colorectal adenocarcinoma) and Vero CCL-81 (African green monkey kidney) cell lines were used as a model of lung tissue. 3DBio scientists developed formation protocols and selected optimal concentrations for the preparation of 3D spheroids from these cell lines. These microtissue samples were transferred to virologists for subsequent infection of 3D spheroids with SARS-Cov2 and testing of antiviral substances.

“We are very proud of the important role that our laboratory and its employees play in assisting virology and pharmacology specialists in the rapid and accurate development of antiviral drugs,” said Yusef Hesuani, co-founder and managing partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions.

Vero cells are a lineage of cells used in cell cultures. The ‘Vero’ lineage was isolated from kidney epithelial cells extracted from an African green monkey. The original cell line was named “Vero” after an abbreviation of verda reno, which means “green kidney” in Esperanto, while vero itself means “truth” in Esperanto. According to published research, African green monkey kidney (Vero) cells provide an alternative host cell system for influenza A and B viruses, which is probably why scientists believe they can be used in COVID-19 research as well.

As per the company’s mission of “creating future opportunities”, 3DBio takes an active part in pharmacological studies of various antiviral drugs. During the most difficult challenge in recent healthcare history, cell biologists from the laboratory’s research team began working with leading virologists and pharmaceutical companies to develop anti-COVID-19 drugs.

3DBio scientists use their vast experience in the most advanced pathology and predictive toxicology modeling methods to minimize the time needed to find solutions that will provide treatment for patients with COVID-19 and other viral diseases.

Existing traditional two-dimensional protocols for testing antiviral agents can sometimes provide very conflicting data since the results of 2D modeling of perspective anti-COVID-19 drugs can radically differ from the real reaction of the human body to their activity. On the other hand, three-dimensional tissue spheroids fully reproduce the organization of native tissue and serve as an ideal in vitro model for testing pharmacological molecules under physiological conditions.


Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst for leading US-firm SmarTech Analysis, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he Co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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