Earlier it became known that the upper respiratory tract and lungs are the main foci of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The fact that the virus can infect multiple areas of the body will help explain the wide range of symptoms that COVID-19 patients experience.
What's more, the findings indicate that the mouth may play a role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to the lungs or digestive system through virus-laden saliva.
Researchers examined oral tissue in healthy people to identify areas of the mouth susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
RNA of two key proteins for penetration -receptor ACE2 and enzyme TMPRSS2 - was found in the cells of the salivary glands and tissues of the oral cavity. This indicates an increased vulnerability, as the virus is believed to need both input proteins in order to gain access to cells.
In addition, in the tissue of the salivary glands of one ofof deceased people, as well as a person who is currently suffering an acute form of COVID-19, scientists discovered specific viral RNA sequences: they indicated that cells are actively making new copies of the virus.
More research will be needed toto confirm the results obtained in a wider group of people and to determine the exact nature of how our mouth spreads SARS-CoV-2 and transfers it outside the body.
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