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In vitro and in silico modeling of COVID-19


The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 emerged in December 2019, in China, and disseminated to several countries, causing an acute respiratory disease called COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019). COVID-19 can evolve to severe respiratory infections resulting in high mortality index for people over 60 years of age or people that chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiac, and vascular diseases. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020. At this moment, when COVID-19 pandemic rises globally, we saw the opportunity to contribute with the expertise of our group in two different approaches, but that are intimately related to research projects from our group: 1) the development of a platform to model SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro, using 3D bioprinting; 2) production of an in silico model to study the propagation of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Brazil. We propose a multidimensional study that aims to provide tools to study the infection and screen new drugs in vitro, and in silico model to evaluate and predict the impact of COVID-19. Once validated, the in vitro models will be accessible for other researchers interested in studying mechanisms of brain and lung infection by SARS-CoV-2, development of new treatments, among other possibilities. In silico modeling of COVID-19 will be an important tool for policymakers to mitigate pandemic as well as to reduce social and economic impacts. (AU)

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