Researchers from the USP (University of São Paulo) confirmed that the new coronavirus is able to infect and replicate in saliva, hence the high infectious ability.
The discovery was made through analyzes of samples of three types of salivary glands obtained from the autopsy of patients who died of complications from Covid-19 complications at the USP’s Hospital das Clínicas.
They found that these tissues, which specialize in saliva production and secretion, are reservoirs for the new coronavirus. The results of the FAPESP-sponsored study were published in the Journal of Pathology.
The results help explain why the new coronavirus is found in large quantities in saliva.
“It is the first report of a respiratory virus that is able to infect the salivary glands and multiply there. Until then, it was believed that only viruses that cause diseases such as herpes with a very high prevalence could use the salivary glands as reservoirs to explain why SARS-CoV-2 is so contagious, ”says Bruno Fernandes Matuck, doctoral student at USP Dental School and lead author of the study.
Researchers will assess whether the mouth is a direct gateway for coronaviruses
The USP researchers want to test whether the mouth can be a direct gateway for the coronavirus. The mouth has a larger contact area than the nasal cavity, which has been identified as the main entry point for the virus. Through a partnership with researchers from the University of North Carolina, USA, they will map the distribution of viral receptors in the mouth and assess contamination.