3D tissue models and organoids to study SARS-CoV-2 infection
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a virus causing COVID-19, well-known as disease of the respiratory system. However, it can also cause disease of other organ systems, such as the heart, brain, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and blood vessels. Our current understanding of SARS-CoV-2 tissue tropism remains relatively limited, but a better understanding could improve prognoses as well as treatment options. To shed light to tissue tropism of SARS-CoV-2, a network called Organo-Strat (short for Organ-specific stratification) connecting 13 university clinics working on 3D models throughout Germany was organized.
Within the last years, tissue models and organoids for various tissues were established in Würzburg as part of the graduate college GRK 2157. Since our department focuses on sexually transmitted bacteria, including Chlamydia and Neisseria, we have established models for different parts of the urogenital tract. Therefore, within the Organo-Strat network, we investigate the infection and its consequences of SARS-CoV-2 in the urogenital tract.