Bruker’s SkyScan 1278 to help identify effective treatments against COVID-19


Following the recent installation of Bruker’s SkyScan 1278 in vivo micro-CT system, researchers at the KU Leuven, Belgium, have published pioneering research that provides information about the ongoing search for effective treatments against COVID-19. In some of the first in vivo imaging experiments on COVID-19 hamster models, the research group led by Prof. Johan Neyts and Professor Greetje Vande Velde at KU Leuven moved fast to develop a Syrian hamster model for the disease to test the effectiveness of three potential COVID-19 treatments, evaluated by µCT.1 The study used the SkyScan 1278 to assess whether the antiviral favipiravir, the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), or HCQ combined with the antibiotic azithromycin, could mitigate the disease or prevent transmission.

Results showed that favipiravir slightly reduced viral load in hamsters directly infected with SARS-CoV-2. However, neither HCQ nor HCQ plus azithromycin affected the viral load. Additionally, the results of lung micro-CT imaging showed no clear effect for any of the treatments in reducing the lung occlusion – due to pathologies such as inflammation – associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Furthermore, none of the three treatments protected healthy hamsters against transmission from infected animals.

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