Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles have explained how Covid-19 harms not only the lungs but also other organs.
Using mouse experiments, the researchers found the cause of the severe symptoms, because SARS-CoV-2 stopped metabolic energy production in heart, kidney and spleen cells. This is reported in the JCI Insight magazine post.
Normal mice are insensitive to SARS-CoV-2, because the virus does not recognize the ACE2 protein in their body, which in humans will interact with the S protein, helping the pathogen to enter the cell. To study the mechanism of infection, the scientists bred genetically modified mice, which have human versions of ACE2 in cells of different organs. When infected with SARS-CoV-2, mice develop pneumonia, as well as other dangerous disorders.
Within 7 days, all mice with Covid-19 stopped eating, were completely inactive and lost an average of 20% of their weight. They exhibit changes in cellular immunity, heart tissue edema, and spleen dysfunction. In addition, energy-generating metabolic processes (tricarboxylic acid cycle and respiratory electron transport chain) are markedly degraded.
Some changes in all organs in mice infected with Covid-19 persisted over a long period of time. Viruses are capable of causing epigenetic changes, that is, changes in DNA structure that affect gene activity.
Earlier, virologist Aleksandr Chepurnov, former head of the laboratory for particularly dangerous infections at the Russian Vector Center, also spoke about the consequences that she may experience after being infected with SARS-CoV. -2.
According to him, the immune system of a person with Covid-19 becomes weakened, which can lead to chronic illness.
The expert noted that after the patient made a formal recovery, a significant imbalance in cytokine production was noted that regulates interactions between cells and between systems.
“So the recovery time is different, it can’t be compared to recovering from common diseases,” Chepurnov said.
The medical specialist adds that the recovery takes a long time and the appropriate rehabilitation measures.