Many serious disease outbreaks in the past 20 years have been caused by respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. Traditionally, scientists use 2D cell culture systems to study these viruses in the lab. These systems involve growing one cell type on a plastic surface.
The CSIRO has been developing 3D human airway cell culture models to better understand how respiratory viruses work in actual human airways. All without the need for a real live human!
They can use their models to better understand how a pathogen affects a host, or whether potential drugs might work against it.