We know why Covid-19 is so contagious

We know why Covid-19 is so contagious
We know why Covid-19 is so contagious
The Covid-19 continues to claim victims around the world. Months after the appearance of this deadly virus, researchers go from surprise to surprise when it comes to this disease. The many studies carried out worldwide tell us a little more about SARS-CoV-2, the Covid-19 virus, every day.

We know that this virus has a protein called Spike that enables it to attach to ACE2 receptors in human cells. This protein gives it the ability to force entry into our cells and multiply there.

Photo by Juraj Varga. Pixabay credits

After months of research, researchers at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Helsinki in Finland have discovered another protein that sheds light on why the Covid-19 virus is so contagious.

On the way to a better understanding of Covid-19 thanks to Neuropilin 1

This protein, called Neuropilin 1, is found in cells that line the nasal cavities. It is known to signal pain in humans and to be involved in the growth of their blood vessels. However, the researchers found that it also plays the role of a receptor that facilitates infection of our tissues by SARS-CoV-2.

“If you think of ACE2 as a door lock to get into the cell, Neuropilin 1 could guide the virus to the door. ACE2 is expressed in very low levels in most cells. It is therefore not easy for the virus to find doors through which to enter. Other factors like Neuropilin 1 could help the virus find its door “, said Giuseppe Balistreri, co-author of the study published in Science.

Also read: The FDA approves Remdevesir as a treatment for Covid-19

Promising results

To make this discovery, the researchers had to go back, as Ravi Ojhan, another co-author of the study, explains.

“The starting point of our study was to find out why SARS-CoV, a coronavirus that led to a much smaller outbreak in 2003, and SARS-CoV-2 spread so differently when using the same primary recipient, ACE2. “

Experiments on samples from deceased Covid-19 patients and on mice confirmed that Neuropilin 1 facilitated the entry of the virus into the nervous system. The researchers plan to use this discovery to develop effective ways to fight the virus.

“Our laboratories are currently testing the effects of new molecules that we have specially developed to break the link between the virus and Neuropilin. The preliminary results are very promising and we hope to receive in vivo validations in the near future. “

Also read: Covid-19 is five times more deadly than influenza in hospital patients

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