What’s the latest research on SARS-CoV-2 entry points across multiple organs in the human body?
A team of researchers have been tracking the path of SARS-Cov-2 into multiple organs. The lead author of the research, a molecular biologist, has said that according to their data, the COVID isn’t just a respiratory disease.
The study is “A Single-Cell RNA Expression Map of Human Coronavirus Entry Factors,” published in Cell Reports on September 3. The authors are from the Cornell University, US, and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Bonn.
SCARFs, acronym for the SARS-Cov-2 and Coronavirus-Associated Receptors and Factors, are 28 gene expressions mapped by the group. Studying the Single-cell RNA expression of these genes can predict the vulnerability of types of cells and tissues to the infection.
The researchers mention that in case of the immune system’s inability to generate a fast response, the molecular factors naturally present within the healthy tissues can restrict the COVID infection. Mapping of such molecular factors and possible routes of the virus can be of great use in the drug development process against this Coronavirus infection.
One of the co-authors have stated that by now it’s known that the virus can trigger neurological disorders. However, according to this latest study, astrocytes and pericytes, the cells involved in regulation of our blood-brain barrier, may be susceptible to the infection. As per their research, the virus can also enter into the lungs, heart, CNS through alternate pathways. It also supports clinical data from other sources revealing SARS-Cov-2 infection in intestines, placenta, and kidneys.
The authors have expressed a concern over the virus being able to cross the placental barrier which as per their suggestion, require further and in-depth research.
Male specific vulnerabilities to the viral infection can be explained from the specific permissive group of cells within the prostate and testes.
The study has noted that in its small sample size, nasal cells expressing SARS-Cov-2 entry factors were significantly and statistically more in older people, above 50. This could be a reason why elderly population fell more sick compared to the younger ones.
Information compiled from – Cornell Chronicle