A group of Brazilian scientists has detected, for the first time, the presence of the new coronavirus on the gums of some deceased patients like consequence of covid-19, academic sources report this Thursday.
The discovery is the result of a study conducted by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and has been published in the journal Journal of Oral Microbiology.
“The presence of SARS-CoV-2 in periodontal tissue may be one of the factors that contribute to the presence of this virus in the saliva of infected patients“, indicates Bruno Matuck, one of the authors of the investigation, supported by the Foundation for Amparo to the Investigation of the State of Sao Paulo (Fapesp).
Other viruses They had already been previously identified in gum tissue, such as herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr or cytomegalovirus.
Appear in saliva
On this basis, Brazilian scientists have hypothesized that the coronavirus, due to its high level of infection compared to other respiratory pathogens, could reproduce in the oral cavity and thus appear in saliva.
To verify this, they took samples from the salivary glands, the gums and the upper respiratory tract, as well as the taste buds, of seven patients who died from complications related to Covid-19.
The clinical analyzes confirmed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the periodontal tissue of five of the seven victims, in some cases up to 24 days after the first symptoms of the disease appear. “These findings show that periodontal tissue appears to be a target for SARS-CoV-2, and may contribute, for a long time, to its appearance in saliva samples,” explains Matuck.
A serious picture of Covid-19
However, the study emphasizes that the presence of the virus in saliva for a long period “does not mean that the viral RNA particles are infectious for all that time. ” “Other studies showed that the contagion capacity of the virus decreases over time and it reaches its peak in 15 days “, affirms Luiz Fernando Ferraz, coordinator of the investigation.
On the other hand, the detection of the new coronavirus in the gums also corroborates, according to the report, that the inflation of this tissue (periodontitis) increases the risk of developing a serious picture of Covid-19.
“Once SARS-CoV-2 infects periodontal tissue, the increased secretion of gingival fluid increases the load of the virus in saliva, “says Matuck.
More than 300,000 deaths in Brazil
With more than 12.2 million cases and 300,000 deaths, Brazil is currently the country most affected by the pandemic, in part due to the circulation of new, a priori, more infectious variants.
The country is on the brink of national health collapse and some regions suffer from a lack of oxygen and medications, such as sedatives or neuromuscular blockers, which are of vital importance for the most seriously ill of Covid-19.
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