Is corona infection mainly through the nose? New study provides the answer
The scientists are already aware that the new corona virus is transmitted in a similar way to the Sars virus from 2003. Nevertheless, it remains unclear which is the most likely transmission route. If we know how Covid-19 got into the body of the majority of those infected, we can take appropriate protective measures. A team of scientists from the University of Cote d’Azur wants to answer the sensitive question. The researchers examined cells in the mucous membrane, nose, eyes and several internal organs. The goal: to determine which body cells have the proteins ACE2 and TMPRSS2. It is precisely these specific entry proteins that viruses such as Sars and Corona use to enter the human body. How does a corona infection actually happen?
How does a corona infection occur? Researchers give an answer
As part of the study, the cells were also researched by important internal organs such as the heart and liver. This enabled the researchers to show the route of infection. Of all tissue types tested, the so-called entry proteins were found primarily in the nose. The scientists were able to finally prove that the so-called flicker and goblet cells, which are located there, contain the proteins. So far, doctors have also assumed that the coronavirus penetrates the body via the upper respiratory tract. Similarly, there is also an infection with influenza or seasonal colds.
The cells are on the surface inside the nose. They are therefore easily accessible and can be attacked by viruses quickly. Cells with the so-called entry proteins were not only found in the mucous membrane of the nose, but also in the mouth and eyes. The possible routes of infection are therefore:
1. The nose. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks loudly or sings, he sprinkles droplets of virus into the air, which the others can then inhale.
2. The eyes. Virus droplets enter the body through the tear glands.
3. The mouth. Virus droplets get into the mouth when talking and eating.
A smear infection cannot be ruled out either. However, the scientists could not determine how often people get infected by a smear infection. Other ways of infection, such as feces, are less likely, but it could still happen.
Corona infection: After the virus reaches the inside of the nose, it affects the lungs and heart
After the virus reaches the nasal cells, it can also affect the lungs. The researchers also found heart damage in around 20% of those infected. It remains to be seen whether Covid-19 is also responsible for this damage.
Another consequence of the rapid infection of nasal cells is the activation of the immune system. The researchers assume that the production of proteins takes place at the same time as the activation of the immune system. This could explain the rapid immune response.
Knowing the means of transmission is very important for medical professionals. It is not just about finding effective protective measures, but also about therapy. Because only if the mechanisms of the contagion are clarified can effective drugs against the coronavirus be developed.
Corona infection: which protective measures really help?
The transmission path through the nose explains why the dangerous disease is so contagious. An infected person can infect up to 2.5 people. That is why it is very important to take the necessary protective measures to prevent oral infection. This includes keeping people at least 1.5 meters away, wearing a mouthguard and washing hands regularly. With self-made breathing masks in particular, it is important that they cover the nose area well and not just over the mouth. However, many people make a mistake and only wear the mask over their mouths so that they can breathe better through their noses.
Doctors warn that if the virus has already settled in the nasal cells, it cannot be killed by home remedies. Home remedies can be used to alleviate symptoms, but only after consulting a doctor. Ginger, honey and Co., which are considered a remedy for colds, could also alleviate the symptoms of coronavirus. In any case, infected people should be able to be tested and consulted with the responsible medical specialists on site. At the moment, every patient is treated differently, depending on what symptoms they have and whether they have other accompanying diseases.
Corona contagion: Will a Human Cell Atlas consortium soon provide further answers to important questions?
Several studies with a focus on “Covid-19 transmission routes” have already been carried out as part of a new initiative. The Human Cell Atlas consortium connects researchers from all over the world. Experts exchange information on the development of preventive measures, quick tests for diagnostics, and new therapeutic approaches for the effective treatment of the disease.
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