A new study has found that the Wuhan pneumonia (novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19) virus can infect cells in the mouth, a finding that not only explains why some people diagnosed with the disease lose their sense of taste, but also suggests a possible mechanism for transmission of the virus from asymptomatic infected people to others.
According to the non-profit news platform Eurek Alert, Wuhan pneumonia virus can infect parts of the body other than the upper respiratory tract and lungs, such as the digestive system, blood vessels, and kidneys. A team of researchers led by scientists at the US National Institutes of health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found evidence that Wuhan pneumonia virus infects The team found evidence that Wuhan pneumonia virus infects oral cells. The study was officially published yesterday (25) in the journal Nature Medicine.
The scientists previously found that the saliva of people diagnosed with Wuhan pneumonia can contain large amounts of the virus. For those diagnosed with symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, the virus in saliva may come from nasal secretions and sputum; however, this does not explain why the saliva of those diagnosed with no symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection also contains the virus.
The scientists first examined the structure of oral cells and found that some of them had specific RNAs that were necessary for the invasion of Wulnavirus, implying that some oral cells could indeed be infected with Wulnavirus. Second, the scientists studied the oral cells of the diagnosed patients and found evidence in the examination body that the martial lung virus was not only present but also proliferating, and these infected oral cells became the source of the virus in the saliva. Finally, the scientists exposed healthy cells to virus-filled saliva in the experiment and found that saliva could indeed infect healthy cells.
The significance of this study lies in the preliminary finding that the oral cavity may play an important role in the transmission of the martial lung virus. The virus-filled saliva in the oral cavity may further expand the site of infection in the body to the lungs and digestive system, while in vitro transmission may be transmitted by droplets from asymptomatic diagnosed individuals. These findings may help experts to develop more effective prevention policies.