Airway Cell Models for COVID-19 Research

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Public Summary

COVID-19 begins by infection of the respiratory tract epithelium that lines the airways of the nose and lungs. In collaboration with a large number of research laboratories, we have studied the epithelial cells of the airways in diseases including cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma and cancer. For these efforts, we developed models of the human airway epithelium. From isolated airway epithelial cells frozen and stored for future use, we produce highly differentiated cell culture models of the airway surface epithelium that can be used to study mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. Similarly, these cell culture models can be used to test drugs that may prevent or limit the ability of the virus to infect or damage airway cells. Our laboratory has made stored cells and cell models available to the UCSF research community for COVID-19 research.