The researchers profiled the lung tissue of deceased COVID-19 patients and zoomed in on key areas and structures of interest. This is how the cellular atlas of the consequences of the disease appeared.
Scientists have shown what happens in individual cells of patients who have died from COVID-19. In a study published in the journal Nature, the authors describe how infected cells from multiple organs exhibit a range of molecular and genomic changes. Scientists also saw signs of multiple unsuccessful attempts by the lungs to recover in response to respiratory failure. It is she who is the main cause of death of patients with COVID-19.
It was a very emotional exploration. We are grateful to the patients and their families who have agreed to donate tissue for COVID-19 research to help us better understand this devastating disease.
Aviv Regev, study co-author
The team investigated how the SARS-CoV-2 virus affects the function of cells and their genetic programs. They used single-cell RNA sequencing data from tissue samples taken from 11 organ systems. Material from the lungs, heart, liver and kidneys was used to build a comprehensive “cell atlas” of hundreds of thousands of individual cells showing how COVID-19 can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
The team’s cell atlas is freely available for study by other scientists. The authors of the project also created a biobank for 420 samples of deceased patients, which can be used for other COVID-19 research.