Spanish researchers discover a new mode of transmission of the coronavirus (and how to avoid it)

A researcher develops an experiment in the laboratory (Photo: Alvaro Calvo via Getty Images)

The coronavirus is not transmitted by itself as the experts have claimed until now. An investigation led by the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid has discovered that the virus is also transmitted through cells of the immune system and in parallel they have discovered a way to combat it.

The finding, which bears the seal of the Virology and HIV Laboratory of the Research Institute of said Madrid hospital, has been published in the scientific journal Plos Pathogens.

The researchers, as reported by the hospital in a press release, have verified that the virus can ‘sneak’ into immune cells of the body to have a better chance of infecting other cells and that based on this knowledge the infection can be inhibited or counteracted using some certain molecules (known as glyco-mimetics).

Cells, the hospital has detailed, have receptors on their surface that can be used by viruses to adhere to them and also a kind of lock to enter, and that to achieve this, viruses have an arsenal of proteins that allow them to pass through the cell boundary.

Together with the discovery of the new transmission mechanism, researchers have found a way to combat it, using molecules capable of disguising themselves and mimicking the appearance of the sugars that the virus has on its surface, thus confusing and deceiving it.

How the virus ‘sneaks in’

In COVID-19, a protein (the “spike”) that is present on the surface allows the virus to enter human cells when it interacts with a receptor (called ACE2) that is routinely present on infected cells. Scientists at the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid have d …

This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.

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