NanoString tech used to develop SARS-CoV-2 lung cell atlas

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

May 4, 2021 -- NanoString Technologies' GeoMX digital spatial profiler (DSP) technology has been used to develop a foundational dataset to better understand the biological effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection in human lungs and support the identification of new therapeutic interventions and prevention strategies.

The research characterized autopsy lung tissue samples from patients who had been infected by SARS-CoV-2. It was published in Nature and conducted by a network of scientists from the Broad Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Ragon Institute of MGH, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in addition to scientists at NanoString.

RNAScope (left) was utilized to assess the SARS-CoV-2 viral load of autopsy samples
RNAScope (left) was utilized to assess the SARS-CoV-2 viral load of autopsy samples and inform a strategy for a region of interest selection (middle). Regions showing noteworthy biology were selected and segmented on CD45 and CD68 to focus on specific structures within the tissues (right). Image courtesy of NanoString.

GeoMx DSP enables researchers to rapidly and quantitatively characterize tissue morphology with a high-throughput, high-plex RNA and protein profiling system.

In conjunction with single-cell RNA sequencing data, researchers utilized the cancer transcriptome atlas (CTA) and the whole transcriptome atlas (WTA), with additional custom content specific to SARS-CoV-2 genes, to produce and spatially map a comprehensive cell-type atlas. These data will help pinpoint cellular processes, expression pathways, and immune cell profiles to offer insights into systemic COVID-19 disease progression.

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