SARS-CoV-2ís distinctive "spike" protein plays a key role in the disease itself, shows study
Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.
Salk Institute for Biological Studies via News Medical Life Sciences - May 3 2021
Scientists have known for a while that SARS-CoV-2's distinctive "spike" proteins help the virus infect its host by latching on to healthy cells. Now, a major new study shows that they also play a key role in the disease itself.
The paper, published on April 30, 2021, in Circulation Research, also shows conclusively that COVID-19 is a vascular disease, demonstrating exactly how the SARS-CoV-2 virus damages and attacks the vascular system on a cellular level. The findings help explain COVID-19's wide variety of seemingly unconnected complications, and could open the door for new research into more effective therapies.
††† A lot of people think of it as a respiratory disease, but it's really a vascular disease. That could explain why some people have strokes, and why some people have issues in other parts of the body. The commonality between them is that they all have vascular underpinnings."
††† Uri Manor, Study Co-Senior Author and Assistant Research Professor
Salk researchers collaborated with scientists at the University of California San Diego on the paper, including co-first author Jiao Zhang and co-senior author John Shyy, among others.
While the findings themselves aren't entirely a surprise, the paper provides clear confirmation and a detailed explanation of the mechanism through which the protein damages vascular cells for the first time.
There's been a growing consensus that SARS-CoV-2 affects the vascular system, but exactly how it did so was not understood...
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