COVID-19 is even more sinister in the body than scientists had realized

Coronavirus
The novel coronavirus is seen under an electron microscope. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

The coronavirus is seen under an electron microscope. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

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The new coronavirus’ reputation for messing with scientists’ assumptions has taken a truly creepy turn.

Researchers exploring the interaction between the coronavirus and its hosts have discovered that when the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects a human cell, it sets off a ghoulish transformation. Obeying instructions from the virus, the newly infected cell sprouts multi-pronged tentacles studded with viral particles.

These disfigured zombie cells appear to be using those streaming filaments, or filopodia, to reach still-healthy neighboring cells. The protuberances appear to bore into the cells’ bodies and inject their viral venom directly into those cells’ genetic command centers — thus creating another zombie.

The authors of the new study, an international team led by researchers at UC San Francisco, say the coronavirus appears to be using these newly sprouted dendrites to boost its efficiency in capturing new cells and establishing infection in its human victims.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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