The new strain of coronavirus causing acute pneumonia (COVID-19) can destroy immune cells of the human body, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper, following research by scientists from Shanghai and New York. (SCMP – Hong Kong).
This surprising result by researchers in Shanghai and New York is in line with the conclusion reached by first-line epidemiologists against COVID-19 after observing and treating infected patients. Accordingly, doctors and scientists believe that COVID-19 can attack the human immune system and cause similar damage to HIV-infected patients.
Two scientists from Fudan University in Shanghai and Jang Shibo from the New York Hematology Center worked together to study the culture of the SARS CoV-2 virus on T lymphocytes in the laboratory.
T lymphocytes (T cells) play an important role in detecting and eliminating “invaders” in the human body by injecting toxins into the virus-infected cell and then killing both the virus and the infected cell.
The researchers found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was able to attack T lymphocytes in their experiments due to the unique structure of the SARS-CoV-2 protein spikes. This structure appears to have created a protective envelope for SARS-CoV-2 that protects it from T lymphocytes.
Subsequently, the viral gene penetrates the T cell and takes over the cell, causing the T cell to lose its ability to protect the human body.
The researchers suspect that the reason for this might be that the SARS virus is unable to form a protective film like SARS-CoV-2, but only attacks receptors that carry the ACE2 protein – a type of protein that is only present in very small amounts in the T cell.
These studies are expected to suggest new ideas on pathogenesis and treatment interventions, the researchers wrote in the journal Cellular & Element Immunology, published last week.