Although the virus does not only affect the lungs, it can cause severe damage, especially here.
Researchers at Cambridge University have for the first time observed how SARS-CoV-2 attacks and destroys the individual cells of the alveoli. They discovered that cell death occurs in three stages: The affected cells produce virus copies on the very first day and simultaneously release immune substances. These mobilize the antiviral cell defense 48 hours later, but soon after that the cell begins to die, as “scinexx” reports. The scientists came to the conclusion that just one virus particle is enough to infect a cell.
The coronavirus also attacks other organs, including blood vessels, the heart, intestines, brain and nervous system. Researchers there have already observed how the viral infection takes place at the cellular level. But as far as the lungs are concerned, this information has been missing until now. “We still know surprisingly little about how SARS-CoV-2 affects the lungs and causes disease,” explains senior author Joo-Hyeon Lee of the Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute in the UK. “Our approach has now enabled us to grow 3D models of the crucial lung tissue – in principle a kind of mini-lung in the laboratory.
The researchers assume that the cellular response to SARS-CoV-2 is very similar in the patients’ bodies, but with a time lag. In the case of the coronavirus, more serious lung damage typically occurs around ten days after infection. The scientists attribute this to the fact that the corona virus in humans first needs a few days to travel from the upper airways to the lungs.
— hp, Source: oe24.at. Picture: stockilyapp.com
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