We know why Covid-19 is so infectious

We know why Covid-19 is so infectious
We know why Covid-19 is so infectious

The Covid-19 continues to claim victims across the world. Months after the appearance of this deadly virus, researchers go from surprise to surprise regarding this disease. The many studies carried out around the world are telling us a little more about SARS-CoV-2, the Covid-19 virus every day.

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

Photo by Juraj Varga. Pixabay credits

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

Towards 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 is involved in the growth of his blood vessels. However, the researchers found that it also played the role of a receptor that facilitates the infection of our tissues by SARS-CoV-2.

“If you think of ACE2 as the door lock to get into the cell, then neuropilin 1 could be the one that directs the virus to the door. ACE2 is expressed at very low levels in most cells. It is therefore not easy for the virus to find doors to enter it. Other factors such as neuropilin 1 could help the virus find its door ”, explained Giuseppe Balistreri, co-author of the study published in the journal Science.

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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 they use the same main receiver ACE2. “

Experiments carried out on samples taken from deceased patients of Covid-19 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.

“Right now, our laboratories are testing the effects of new molecules that we have specially designed to disrupt the connection between the virus and neuropilin. The preliminary results are very promising and we hope to obtain in vivo validations in the near future. “

Read also : Covid-19 is 5 times more deadly than influenza for hospital patients



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