Barrett's oesophagus tissue may be vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection
A year on from the COVID-19 pandemic beginning its spread across the globe, scientists continue to gather new insights about how the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted. Recently, a research team showed how people with Barrett’s oesophagus, a chronic condition in which the tube connecting the mouth and stomach is damaged over time by acid reflux may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. The condition is characterised by the out-of-place growth of intestine-like cells in the food pipe. By building 'mini-organs' using oesophageal cells collected from these patients (example shown here), the team found the intestinal-type cells (in red) along with TMPRSS2 protein, one of the known receptors for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (in green). While this study does not provide evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food and drink in most people, it does suggest that individuals with this relatively common gastrointestinal condition could be more vulnerable to the virus.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.