Certain cells in the human nose are a key entry point for the SARS CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 in the body. That is the conclusion made by Johns Hopkins Medicine. They conducted a series of experiments with a certain number of human cell samples, during which they were able to identify the so-called cell hook that the coronavirus uses to fix and infect the body.
The hook is located in the tissues of the nose, in the upper part of its mucous membrane. Then they spread along the respiratory tract that leads to the lungs. The preliminary results of the study will help scientists to find more accurate targets for destroying the virus with drugs.
That finding explains the fact that during the period of infection, many patients report a loss of smell. The inability to distinguish between odors is associated with the COVID-19. Andrew Lane, MD, noted that the final version of the study should be the reason why and how the virus is introduced into the body. It will allow to find the right therapy.
The condition when patients lose their sense of smell during the period of infection is anosmia. To study more detaily the relationship between a viral infection and the characteristics of the body, the laboratory studies of nasal tissue samples were carried out.
They were obtained from 19 adults with chronic rhinosinusitis. The samples of a control group of patients - four people who underwent nose surgery in connection with other diseases besides sinusitis - were also taken. Surprisingly enough, none of the samples showed the very cells in the nose that the coronavirus clings to.
The area of the nose, the olfactory neuroepithelium, is sensitive to odors. But it is also especially vulnerable to infections. Past illnesses and surgeries change it. That is why medicine advises using masks during a pandemic. And that makes sense - the cells of the nose in that case are protected from the penetration of the coronavirus.