As the world is witnessing the epidemic of COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, emerging genetics and clinical evidences suggest a similar path to those of SARS and MERS. A cascade of viral particles enters the body through the nose, eyes or mouth. Breathing carries some of these particles to the lower respiratory tract where the spike proteins of the coronavirus, acting like a key, lock into epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract as well as those in the the air sacs in the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 is able to stay undetected longer than many flu or coronaviruses and its spike proteins are able to gain entry by unlocking the ACE2 protein on the lung cells. Once in, they hijack the cell’s machinery, replicate and multiply and infect adjoining cells. Like the defining ACE2 proteins on the epithelial cells, viruses too have a tell-tale signature on their surface called antigens and spotting these is what kicks the immune system into action by producing antibodies. Researchers reveal that a broad range of immune cells react to COVID-19 and aid recovery, findings which could inform the development of a potential vaccine.
Published Date: 2020-05-15; Received Date: 2020-04-24