What is it about?

SARS-CoV-2 preferentially targets ciliated cells, a common cell type lining the airway epithelium. These delicate cells become rapidly overwhelmed with viral replication and detach from the cell surfaces, producing large portable entities packed with viruses combined with severe epithelial damage. IL-13, an inflammatory cytokine involved in allergic asthma, reduces viral spreading and cell damage in vitro, suggesting that patients with allergic asthma may be less susceptible to severe COVID-19.

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Why is it important?

Understanding how SARS-CoV-2 invades the airway epithelium is critical to identify novel pharmacological targets. Similarly, revealing innate defense mechanisms that slow the spreading of the virus may be important to develop new treatment strategies against COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.


This article shows the devastating progression of SARS-CoV-2 infection in airway cells and investigates innate defense mechanisms that attenuate the replication and spreading of the virus in vitro.

Camille Ehre
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: SARS-CoV-2 infection of airway cells causes intense viral and cell shedding, two spreading mechanisms affected by IL-13, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2119680119.
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