COVID-19 pandemic may be fought by a possible weapon called bioprinting. The scientists claimed that 3D printed human organs such as lungs and skins could be used in treating coronavirus and other diseases like cancer. 

According to The New York Times' latest report, 3-D printing has helped address some of the medical issues during the COVId-19 pandemic, such as shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). 3-D printing was also used by the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Anthony Atala, in a more innovative way.

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The director and his team testing drugs to fight the novel coronavirus, by creating copies of human organs, and some are as small as a pinhead. The NYT report is part of its "Fast Forward Series," which tackles and examines economic, technological, cultural, and social shifts that happen as businesses across the world evolve. You can also check TechTimes for more scientific discoveries, such as this article explaining how scientists discovered space-bacteria they claimed that they are growing more antibiotic-resistant and lethal.

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The report said the team is currently helping fight the pandemic by sending their printed colons and lungs, the two organs particularly affected by the viral disease, for testing at a biosafety lab at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Initially, the scientists were printing the so-called organoids using their hands and a pipette. They are now starting to produce the organoids using bioprinting to increase the production rate as the pandemic continues to surge.

How does bioprinting work?

To test how a drug is effective against bacteria and other infectious diseases, such as the Zika virus, Dr. Atala's institute had already printed tiny clusters of cells in the past few years.

"But we never thought we'd be considering this for a pandemic," said Atala.

He also said that his team could print thousands of cells within an hour, from his lab in Winston-Salem, New York City. The process of creating an artificial human tissue using the printing process is a form of "bioprinting."

The report stated that scientists and other researchers are using the method to test drugs and medicines, hoping that it can be used to create actual human skin and full-size organs for transplanting.

"Even to us it sometimes seems like science fiction," said the director of a cross-disciplinary lab in the biomedical engineering department at Texas A&M University, Akhilesh Gaharwar. The lab mainly focuses on bioprinting and other approaches to regenerative medicine.

Bioprinting is currently used to print skin for those victims who suffered from burns, as well as testing cosmetics to avoid using live animals as test subjects.

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Written by: Giuliano de Leon.

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