BREAKING NEWS! ACE2 Receptors Discovered on the Back of Hands - A Potential Route for SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Via Skin Contacts!
Shockingly, ACE2 receptors were found on the epithelial and endothelial cells of the hand's skin and the SARS-CoV-2 virus was shown to bind effectively to them!
: In a groundbreaking study conducted by scientists at the Hospital Regional de Alta Especialidad de Ixtapaluca-Mexico and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, it has been revealed that ACE2 receptors, known to be the entry point for SARS-CoV-2, are present on the back of our hands. This discovery brings to light the plausible risk of SARS-CoV-2 infections and transmission through skin contact, sparking concerns worldwide.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on global health and economies, has emphasized the importance of understanding various factors influencing the spread of the virus. Among these factors, the susceptibility of the population, disease severity, and modes of transmission play significant roles.
In this study, scientists focused on exploring the routes of transmission, particularly the potential for indirect transmission through contact with the back of the hand.
The ACE2 receptor, responsible for binding the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is predominantly found in the respiratory system, especially in older adults. However, research and past COVID-19 News
reports have shown that ACE2 receptors are not limited to the respiratory system but are also expressed in various other organs, including the heart, kidneys, liver, intestines, oral cavity, nasal passages, brain, thyroid, stomach, reproductive systems, lungs, pancreas, eyes, and now, the skin.
The expression of ACE2 receptors in the skin has been observed in the basal cell layer of the epidermis, hair follicles, and even in the cells of eccrine glands. These findings raised the question of whether the back of the hand, a highly exposed and frequently touched area, could serve as a potential site for SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
To investigate this possibility, the study team team conducted immunohistochemical analyses on skin biopsies taken from the back of the hand of five patients.
The study findings were striking: ACE2 receptors were found on the epithelial and endothelial cells of the hand's skin. The staining patterns confirmed the presence of ACE2 receptors on myofibroblasts and in the endothelial cell membrane throughout the observed skin area. Furthermore, the cytoplasm of epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells surrounding sebaceous glands also exhibited positive staining for ACE2.
To strengthen their findings, the scientists tested the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, responsible for viral attachment, to bind to ACE2 receptors on the back of the hand.
The results were conclusive, as the Spike-RBD marker exhibited strong binding to ACE2 receptors, further supporting the hypothesis that the back of the hand could serve as a potential adhesion site for the virus.
The implications of these findings are significant, suggesting that indirect transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through contact with th
e skin, particularly the back of the hand, might contribute significantly to the spread of the virus.
While airborne transmission remains the primary route, the study highlights the importance of disinfecting surfaces and practicing proper hand hygiene to minimize the risk of transmission through skin contact.
It is worth noting that SARS-CoV-2 has been found to persist on the skin for extended periods, making it a potential source of transmission. The suggested mechanism involves an infected individual contaminating a surface or directly transmitting the virus to another person's skin through sneezing or coughing. The intact and infectious virus on the skin can then be transferred to the eyes, mouth, or nose, leading to infection.
The findings presented in this study provide valuable insights into the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 and call for enhanced preventive measures.
While the research focused on the back of the hand, it is crucial to maintain overall hand hygiene, including thorough handwashing and proper use of hand sanitizers, to reduce the risk of transmission.
This groundbreaking study serves as a wake-up call, reminding us that every surface we touch could potentially harbor the virus. It emphasizes the need for continued vigilance and adherence to preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. By staying informed and following recommended guidelines, we can protect ourselves and others, breaking the chain of transmission and ultimately bringing an end to this devastating pandemic.
The study findings were published on a preprint server and are currently almost finished being peer reviewed for publication in to the peer reviewed journal: Virus Genes (Springer).
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