MPSCoRe Working Group

In January 2021, NICEATM, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center, and NCATS established the MPS for COVID Research (MPSCoRe) Working Group in collaboration with NC3Rs. The MPSCoRe Working Group coordinates the use of MPS to reduce animal use in studies of COVID-19 and future emerging infectious diseases. Members include researchers, MPS model developers, therapeutic/vaccine manufacturers, and international regulators. A July 2021 feature article in Drug Discovery Today (Kleinstreuer and Holmes 2021) reviews MPCSCoRe Working Group activities in the context of the broader effort to apply MPS to the development of therapies for COVID-19.

Activities of the MPSCoRe Working Group have included:

  • An organizational meeting in January 2021.
  • A workshop in April 2021 that featured presentations on the themes of testing therapeutics and understanding disease mechanisms.
  • A tutorial in May 2021 on how to use the University of Pittsburgh Microphysiological Systems Database to find and share data on COVID-19 projects.
  • A series of four webinars from June-September 2021 in which working group members described applications of MPS technologies to understanding the mechanisms of COVID-19 disease and assessing the safety and efficacy of potential novel therapeutics.
  • A meeting with representatives of the World Health Organization in December 2021 to discuss research needs relevant to the biology and treatment of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant and the potential for MPS to provide human-relevant platforms for rapidly addressing those needs.