Skin organoids offer a powerful platform for drug discovery in the ongoing fight against the virus formerly known as monkeypox (mpox). A new model system for studying mpox virus infections in the laboratory is providing valuable insights into the virus’s mechanisms of attack on skin cells, offering a potential catalyst in the quest to discover innovative drugs to combat this emerging pathogen. An international research team that included KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia) scientists has demonstrated that lab-grown human skin — stem cell–derived 3D structures called organoids — can effectively facilitate the active replication of mpox virus, the virus formerly known as monkeypox virus, that spread rapidly during a major outbreak in 2022. “Researchers can now use this model to study how the mpox virus causes disease and to test new therapeutics,” says Intikhab Alam, PhD, a bioinformatician who contributed to the study along with his colleague Roberto Incitti, PhD, both from KAUST.
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