How SARS-CoV-2 Damages Lung Cells

How SARS-CoV-2 Damages Lung Cells Within Hours: Scientists Reveal

A team of researchers has developed one of the most extensive maps of the molecular activities triggered inside these cells at the beginning of the COVID-19 infection, as a result of months of multidisciplinary research studies examining several lung cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2. This research will definitely bring progress that might bring about the advancement of novel drugs to combat coronavirus infection.

The study found that around 18 existing drugs approved by the US FDA can be repurposed and used against COVID-19 as soon as an individual gets infected.

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Scientists, including those from Boston University, stated that 5 of these drugs could decrease the spread of COVID-19 in human lung cells by over 90%.

The results of the study are released in the journal Molecular Cell. In the study, the researchers infected several lab-grown human lung cells with the novel coronavirus at the same time and monitored what occurs in these cells during the period after infection.

According to the team, these engineered cells are not identical to the living lung cells of our bodies but can be considered the next best thing.

Elke Muhlberger, co-author and virologist, Boston University, stated that they studied at really early time points of infection – as early as 1 hour after the infection, making this study very unique. It was shocking to observe that the SARS-CoV-2 began to impair the cells very early during infection.

According to scientists, the virus completely remodels the lung cells.

Andrew Emili, the co-author, Boston University, stated that it was incredible the degree to which the virus commandeered the cells it infected.

As the virus couldn’t multiply themselves, they commandeered the host cell machinery to duplicate its genetic material.

The study revealed that the researchers discovered that when COVID-19 takes over, it fully transforms the metabolic processes of the cell. Surprisingly, SARS-CoV-2 also destroys the cells’ nuclear membranes within 3-6 hours after infection.

On the other hand, cells infected with the Ebola virus do not show any noticeable structural changes within such early time points of infection, and the nuclear membrane remains intact even at late stages of infection, stated Muhlberger.

With the nucleus taken hostage by COVID-19, things quickly take a bad turn for the whole cell.

The research stated that the lung cells – which usually function in maintaining the necessary gas exchange of O2 and CO2 during respiration – die under this attack.

Scientists say, the cells additionally send out distress signals, which heighten inflammation as they die, causing a cascade of biological activity that causes an increase in cell death. This ultimately causes acute respiratory distress, lung failures, and pneumonia.

Andrew Wilson, the senior author, stated that he couldn’t have actually forecasted a lot of these pathways; the majority of them were new. That is the reason why their experimental model is so useful.

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How SARS-CoV-2 Damages Lung Cells Within Hours: Scientists Reveal