Study: COVID-19 Targets Cells in Nose, Lungs, and Gut

According to a new study, conducted by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, the novel coronavirus is most likely to target specific cells in nasal passages, lungs, and small intestine.COVID-19 Targets Cells in Nose, Lungs, and Gut

Having analyzed the cells in nasal passages, lungs, and small intestine, the researchers indicated the types of cell that SARS-CoV-2 most likely “latches onto.” In the nasal passages, these are “goblet secretory cells” producing mucus express RNA that allows them to produce both ACE2 and TMPRSS2.

In lung tissue, the virus settled on type II pneumocytes, lining the alveoli and allowing them to stay open, and in the small intestine, absorptive enterocytes, which are the cells that ensure the absorption of key nutrients.

Study co-author Jose Ordovas-Montanes, Ph.D., says: “This may not be the full story, but it definitely paints a much more precise picture than where the field stood before. Now we can say with some level of confidence that these receptors are expressed on these specific cells in these tissues.”

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