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Coronavirus can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Chinese doctors and biologists found the first evidence that the new coronavirus can penetrate the placenta cells and be transmitted from the mother to her unborn children. They published an article about this in the bioRxiv electronic scientific library.

“We have long known that the virus can be transmitted from person to person, but the possibility of its vertical spread remains the subject of debate. We have shown that ACE2 receptors that attack the virus are present in large quantities in the placenta and in the cells of future fetal lungs, as well as many other tissues,” the researchers write.

Coronavirus, which caused an outbreak of pneumonia in China and in several other countries, penetrates the cells of human lungs and other mammals using ACE2 protein molecules that cover the lung cells. These outgrowths play an important role in the life of the causative agent of SARS, the SARS virus.

Researchers at the Beijing College of Medicine and Fudan University in China have become interested in whether coronavirus can use such receptors to enter the fetus of a pregnant woman.

To answer this question, scientists analyzed how actively different types of placenta cells and the mother’s organs associated with it “read” the ACE2 gene and its associated DNA.

In addition, scientists tracked how the concentration of these receptors in future lungs, kidneys, heart, and other organs of mouse embryos changes at different stages of their development.

These calculations and experiments showed that ACE2 receptors actually exist on the surface of placental cells. Scientists also learned that the fetus is particularly vulnerable to virus attacks in the early stages of development.

As scientists emphasize, this does not necessarily mean that the unborn child will necessarily become infected with the coronavirus if it enters the mother’s body. However, this factor must be taken into account in the treatment of pregnant patients and the occurrence of complications associated with gestation.

– New coronavirus –

Now, the Chinese authorities have confirmed about 78.8 thousand cases of infection with a new coronavirus, more than 36.1 thousand people have recovered, and about 2.8 thousand infected have died.

Outside of China, the disease was detected in 52 countries, including Russia.

An outbreak was recorded at the end of December last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The World Health Organization recognized it as an emergency of international proportions, describing it as an epidemic with many foci.

On January 7, Chinese experts established the causative agent of the disease, the coronavirus, which was called SARS-CoV-2 (it was originally known as 2019-nCoV).

A new type of coronavirus belongs to the same group of viruses as SARS and MERS, the causative agents of SARS and Middle Eastern fever.

Over the past ten years, both viruses have claimed the lives of several hundred people in the Middle East and East Asia, as well as repeatedly causing epidemics, spreading through camels and poultry. The initial carrier of the 2019-nCoV virus, scientists suggest,  was bats, and there was also evidence that pangolins  or  snakes could be “guilty” of this.

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