A new study shows that the Covid-19 virus can enter immune cells and act like HIV.
The corona virus that causes Covid-19 can destroy immune cells, the South China Morning Post quoted scientists as saying.
This unexpected finding was made by a team of researchers from Shanghai and New York.
Lu Lu, from Fudan University in Shanghai and Jang Shibo, from the New York Blood Center, combined the corona virus with the official name Sars-CoV-2 with T-cell strains grown in a laboratory.
T lymphocytes, also known as T cells, play a central role in identifying and eliminating intruders.
They do this by capturing an infected cell, drilling a hole in the cell membrane and injecting toxins into the cell. These chemicals kill both the virus and infected cells and tear them to pieces.
To the scientists’ surprise, the T-cells became prey to the corona virus in their experiments. They found a unique structure in the viral protein that seemed to trigger the fusion of a virus envelope and cell membrane when they were exposed.
The virus then invades T cells and controls them, disabling the T-cell’s protective function.
The researchers did a similar experiment with the Sars virus and found that the Sars virus was not able to infect T cells.
Studies on corona virus infecting primary T cells will “evoke new ideas about disease mechanisms and therapies,” the researchers said in an article published today. The journal Cellular & Immunology this week.
A doctor who works at a public hospital treating Beijing’s Covid-19 patients said the findings add to evidence of concern that Covid-19 sometimes acts like the HIV virus.
“More and more people compare it to HIV,” the doctor said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the problem.
In February, Chen Yongwen and his colleagues at the Institute of Immunology of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA), issued a clinical report warning that the number of T cells could drop significantly. in patients of Covid-19. The lower the number of T cells, the higher the risk of death.
This conclusion was later confirmed by autopsy on more than 20 Covid-19 patients. Their immune system is almost completely destroyed.
Doctors have reported injuries to these patients’ internal organs as a combination of Sars and AIDS.
The gene that makes Sars-CoV-2 capable of binding to T cells is not found in other corona viruses in humans or animals.
However, some deadly viruses like HIV and Ebola have similar gene sequences. This has led to speculation that the new corona virus may have quietly spread to humans for a long time before the pandemic was caused.