Scientists making artificial human organs to test new vaccines

COLLEGE STATION, Texas & LOS ALAMOS, N.M. – It turns out that the guardians of the nation’s nuclear deterrent are also busy fighting COVID-19.

Many of the scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is famous for inventing the atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project, are focused on defeating COVID-19. Their work includes vaccine development, testing, manufacturing and viral genetic research.

Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M University System spoke recently with Dr. Thom Mason, director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, about their work to battle COVID-19. The lab is managed by a group called Triad National Security, which is made up of three members: The Texas A&M University System, Battelle Memorial Institute and the University of California.

“There is some truly fascinating work being done at the lab under the management of Triad,” Chancellor Sharp said.

Chancellor Sharp’s conversation with Dr. Mason can be seen on “COVID-19: The Texas A&M System Responds.” In the television series, Chancellor Sharp is interviewing leaders, scientists, researchers and other experts who help fight the pandemic in a variety of ways.

The interview will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. System’s YouTube channel:

Some of the work at the lab will surprise viewers, Chancellor Sharp said. For example, he learned about how the lab’s scientists are making artificial human organs.

New vaccines require a few stages of clinical trials before they can be tested on humans. Dr. Mason explained that artificial human organs can prove helpful in weeding out vaccine candidates early in the process without putting humans at risk.

“We see our role at Los Alamos as bringing the best science, technology and engineering to the most pressing national security challenges,” Dr. Mason said.