How Micro-CT is being used in some of the World’s First in vivo COVID-19 Imaging Experiments

Virologists and lung disease specialists are using Bruker micro-CT for some of the world’s first in vivo COVID-19 imaging experiments.

Blue Scientific is the official distributor for Bruker Micro-CT instruments in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. For more information or quotes, please get in touch.

Bruker Micro-CT Instruments

 Contact us on +44 (0)1223 422 269 or


Micro-CT in COVID-19 Research

KU Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) in Belgium are using the Bruker SkyScan 1278 in vivo micro-CT system for coronavirus research and pre-clinical testing. The university is studying the efficacy of vaccine and drug candidates, with some of the first in vivo imaging experiments on COVID-19 models using small animals. The study will give a better understanding of how the SARS-CoV-2 virus leads to lung damage.

Computed tomography (CT) is an established method for diagnosing lung pathology in clinical settings, so it’s ideal for diagnosing COVID-19 virus-induced lung infections. The technique is now being translated to laboratory animals for pre-clinical research, to find an efficient vaccine and antiviral drugs.

We are developing a vaccine for the prevention and drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 infections. The new micro-CT scanner will help us identify which of these candidates could make it through to clinical trials.
Professor Johan Neyts, Virologist at KU Leuven
Micro-CT in COVID-19 Research

Team of Virologists and Lung Disease Specialists

The team at KU Leuven is led by Professor Vande Velde, using the SkyScan 1278 at MoSAIC (Molecular Small Animal Imaging Center), in collaboration with the virology lab of Prof. Johan Neyts from the Rega Institute and the Laboratory of Clinical and Epidemiological Virology, led by Professor Marc Van Ranst.

Biosafety Level 3 Lab for COVID-19 Research

Significant groundwork on imaging diseased lungs has already been made. The REGA Institute is dedicating its Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3) laboratory to COVID-19 research, recently installing KU Leuven’s second SkyScan 1278 instrument.

We have implemented micro-CT protocols for various lung disease models such as fungal infections or influenza virus infection. It has been possible to translate these into COVID animal models, to apply non-destructive in vivo imaging to examine SARS-CoV-2-based lung infections and potential treatments. The low radiation dose possible with the SkyScan 1278 is a really important development – we can image the same animal repeatedly, obtaining high quality 3D images over long time periods without harming the animal.
Professor Greetje Vande Velde, Principal Investigator at MoSAIC and KU Leuven Faculty of Medicine

The micro-CT protocols for lung disease models are available in a paper: Vande Velde et al. Disease Models & Mechanisms (2016) 9: 91-98.

World’s Fastest, Low-Dose Micro-CT

The key benefit of the Bruker SkyScan 1278 for this research is that it offers the world’s fastest, low-dose, high-throughput micro-CT. This enables non-invasive, longitudinal imaging studies, delivering quantitative data on lung disease processes and treatment responses.

Radiation doses are reduced by up to five times by a new spatial beam shaper. The same high quality image output is maintained.

Biosafety Level 2 Lab at KU Leuven

MoSAIC at KU Leuven is equipped with state-of-the-art in vivo imaging technology and expertise, for non-invasive and longitudinal assessment of pre-clinical disease and therapy models in a biosafety level 2 (BSL2) environment. MoSAIC houses several Bruker imaging systems, including a a SkyScan 1076 micro-CT, SkyScan 1278 micro-CT, 9.4T MRI system and a 7T PET/MRI scanner.

Prof. Vande Velde and Prof. Neyts are working together with a translational approach, combining expertise in micro-CT imaging technology and virology, to tackle the threat of coronavirus.

Lung Disease Research Webinar

Find out more about how micro-CT is used in lung disease research in a webinar presented by Dr Vande Velde on Thursday 9th July 2020. Details on Bruker’s website…

Bruker SkyScan 1278

Bruker SkyScan 1278

  • World’s fastest, low-dose, high-throughput micro-CT.
  • Image small animal heart and lungs without contrast agents.
  • Full body scans in <8 seconds.
  • Breathing and heartbeat gating for synchronised acquisition.

More details…

More Information

Blue Scientific is the official distributor of Bruker Micro-CT in the UK and Nordic region. We’re available to provide quotes and help with your queries – just get in touch:

 Contact us on +44 (0)1223 422 269 or

 Micro-CT in Life Science