The Germanwide network "Organo-Strat" uses human organ models to study COVID-19 diseases. The name "Organo-Strat" stands for organ stratification, because COVID-19 is not exclusively a respiratory disease - other organ systems such as the heart, brain, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract or the vascular system can be affected. The network was established in summer 2020 under the coordination of the Charité and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with 3.2 million euros as part of the "National Research Network of University Medicine on COVID-19". The Organo-Strat network consists of 28 subprojects at Aachen, Berlin, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Jena, Marburg, Münster, Tübingen and Würzburg. The aim is to better understand the effects of COVID-19 on individual organs in order to improve clinical prognosis and therapy.
The specific effects of a SARS-CoV-2 infection on the different organs will be investigated using human organoids as well as native human tissue and autopsy samples. Spokesperson Prof. Dr. Andreas Hocke, Medical Clinic of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine at Charité and member of the Charité 3R Council of Spokespersons explains: "To better understand the processes that SARS-CoV-2 triggers in the human organism, research on human models is essential. Our goal is therefore to establish a network of university hospitals and high-security laboratories in order to establish common standards for the targeted infection and analysis of the models as well as the necessary data management. The network can also be activated very quickly for future pandemics and provide important information about new pathogens even before they have spread widely in the population." He adds, "The Organo-Strat network also makes an important contribution to establishing human-based methods as a standard in research, so that corresponding animal models don't even have to be developed."
The fact that organoids are a promising new technology for biomedical research is also shown in the current white paper "Organoids - from stem cells to future technologies" by the interdisciplinary working group Genetic Engineering Report of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the German Stem Cell Network (GSCN). In the paper, published in both English and German, Andreas Hocke presents the COVID-19 research on lung organoids from adult stem cells in an interview.
Projektmanagement: Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Partners: Nine university Hospitals in Aachen, Berlin, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Jena, Gießen/ Marburg, Münster, Tübingen und Würzburg. (Non-)university Partners: Freie Universität Berlin, Helmholtz-Institut für RNA-basierte Infektionsforschung (HIRI), Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, Robert Koch-Institut.
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