Researchers at the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP) found that SARS-CoV-2 infects and replicates in salivary gland cells.

Through analysis of samples of three types of salivary glands, obtained during a minimally invasive autopsy procedure in patients who died from complications of COVID-19 at the Hospital das Clínicas at FMUSP, they found that these tissues specialized in saliva production and secretion are reservoirs for the new coronavirus.

The results of the study, supported by FAPESP, were published in the Journal of Pathology.

The findings contribute to explain why the new coronavirus is found in large quantities in saliva, which made it possible to carry out diagnostic tests for COVID-19 from the fluid, stress the authors of the work.

"It is the first report of a respiratory virus capable of infecting and replicating in the salivary glands. Until then, it was believed that only viruses causing diseases with a very high prevalence, such as herpes, used the salivary glands as a reservoir. This may help. to explain why SARS-CoV-2 is so infectious”, tells the FAPESP Agency Bruno Fernandes Matuck, a doctoral candidate at the USP Dentistry School and the first author of the study.

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