The Wistar Institute, a biomedical research center focused on studying cancer, immunology and infectious diseases, is collaborating with biofabrication company Allevi to explore the use of bioprinting technologies to fight COVID-19. Specifically, Allevi’s bioprinting platform will be used to 3D print lung models to study the effects of SARS-CoV-2.
The need for research and a deeper understanding of COVID-19 is still of critical importance. Today, over half a million people around the globe have died from the virus, and millions are suffering from it or at risk of contracting it. With this urgency driving them, Wistar and Allevi are hoping to study the mechanisms deployed by the virus to infect humans and figure out how they can be stopped. The combination of Allevi’s bioprinting platform and Wistar’s knowledge of immunology and virology – along with its biosafety level 3 capabilities – will hopefully enable the partners to achieve a breakthrough on this front.
“We are accompanying the spectacular work from our peers in the scientific community and have identified tremendous potential for our platform to enable COVID-19 research in a much faster, yet physiologically relevant manner,” said Taciana Pereira, Allevi Vice President of Life Sciences and a co-principal investigator on the project. “We believe that scientists from all areas need to unite now to solve this crisis, so we are ecstatic to work with Wistar and Dr. David Weiner.”
The partnership will be spearheaded by Dr. David B. Weiner, PhD, the executive vice president and director of the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center (VIC) and W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Professor in Cancer Research. He said: “We have been advancing scientific investigations aimed at the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, and we believe that Allevi’s innovative approach is an exciting modality to gain unique insights into the inner workings of the novel coronavirus.”
This is not the only bioprinting project that is being undertaken to fight COVID-19: San Francisco-based Prellis Biologics is exploring the potential of using 3D printed synthetic lymph nodes for the production of fully human COVID-19 antibodies.