Research corona cT

Micro-Computed Tomography — Helping Researchers to Understand COVID-19

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Working with industries to define how we can equip them with the best tools to enable them to excel is both exciting and humbling. During the design phase of projects, our instruments can become involved in exciting new applications and it is particularly rewarding for us to see our instruments play a pivotal role in generating benefits that could affect the whole of society.

The current coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is putting a squeeze on not only healthcare providers, but also life science organizations, who are charged with finding a cure, quickly. New viruses, however, pose a particular challenge as they are an unknown entity. Gaining insight into a virus, including how it affects its host, is key to developing a therapeutic product. Although we seem to know that COVID-19 mainly attacks the respiratory system, particularly the lungs, scientists need a more detailed understanding that will enable them to develop a cure.

Micro-Computed tomography (micro-CT) is a reliable method of diagnosing lung pathology in a (pre)clinical setting. A team of researchers at the Katholische Universität (KU) Leuven has provided significant groundwork on diseased lung imaging using a Bruker SkyScan 1278 - an in vivo micro-CT system. Now, by collaborating with teams from the Rega Institute and the Laboratory of Clinical and Epidemiological Virology, the team is turning its focus to COVID-19 research.

Using the protocols that were implemented for previous research on diseased lungs, the researchers are translating these to help identify which therapeutic candidates could make it through to clinical trials. This research represents some of the world's first in vivo preclinical imaging experiments of COVID-19 models using mice and hamsters.

Using the Bruker specifically has allowed the examination of SARS-CoV-2-based lung infections and treatments. Crucially, the system's low radiation dose has enabled the researchers to image the same animals repeatedly to obtain high-quality 3D images over time without harming the animals.

Bruker instruments are enabling scientists to make breakthrough discoveries and to develop new applications that improve the quality of human life and we are helping pave the way towards understanding one of the most destructive pandemics our world is facing recently.