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Researchers build potential roadmap of Covid-19 to track infection

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 08, 2020

They studied the RNA expression of healthy human tissues to develop comprehensive profile of molecular factors that facilitate and restrict SARS-CoV2 infection

A team of researchers from Cornell University has built potential roadmaps on how the coronavirus infects organs. They also explored molecular factors that could help in facilitating or restricting infection, according to a the study published in the journal Eureka Alert!

Lead author Cedric Feschotte, a molecular biology professor said in the study: “The data suggest that Covid-19 is not just a respiratory disease. It’s much broader than that and has the potential to affect many other organs. Our analyses suggest that there is a wide range of cellular vulnerabilities.”

The study tracks the expression of 28 human genes named ‘SCARFs’ — SARS-Cov-2 and Coronavirus-Associated Receptors and Factors.

Researchers examined the single-cell RNA expression of these genes and speculated which tissues and cell types are most vulnerable to coronavirus infection, in both adults and embryos.

The team said in their study that they looked at the RNA expression of healthy human tissues to develop a comprehensive profile of the molecular factors that both facilitate and restrict SARS-CoV2 infection.

Feschotte explained that without the immune system’s ability to respond quickly, naturally-occurring restriction factors already present in the tissues represent the body’s main line of defense against SARS-CoV-2.

Researchers also mapped the different entry points for the novel coronavirus and predicted the trail of the virus after it enters the body.

The researchers noted that this study could help scientists develop a vaccine for a particular area that can be the most susceptible to the virus.

The study indicated alternate entry paths for how the virus could enter the lungs, central nervous system, and heart.

Their research also lends support to the emerging clinical data that revealed that SARS-CoV-2 also infects the intestines, kidney, and placenta.

They mentioned that specific groups of cells within the prostate and testes are likely to be permissive for SARS-CoV-2 and may help explain male-specific vulnerabilities.

The research team also developed an open-access, user-friendly web interface where anyone can look up the single-cell RNA expressions of SCARFs. This could help scientists analyse the study and move ahead with the development of vaccines accordingly.

Published on September 08, 2020

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