Frozen cells and empty cages: researchers struggle to revive stalled experiments after the lockdown

Read the full story in Nature.

Coronavirus-related closures have forced researchers to downsize Drosophila colonies, kill laboratory animals and freeze delicate stem-cell lines or patient-derived samples. Getting those experiments up and running again will take time. Social-distancing guidelines will inevitably constrain the pace of research by limiting how many people can work at once, and strained supply chains and short-staffed shipping departments are likely to slow the flow of required materials.

For now, many researchers are easing back in simple ways: regrowing cell lines or animal colonies, or finishing off experiments that were nearly complete when they shut down. “I’ve been surprised at the number of things we take for granted in terms of lab maintenance,” says microbiologist Ami Bhatt at Stanford University in California. “It’s daunting to think of bringing all that back up.”

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