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How do people have COVID-19 without symptoms?

11-11-2020


Today’s Video of the Day from the University of Arizona Health Sciences reveals that COVID-19 inhibits a pain signaling pathway in the body, which may explain how as many as 40 percent of people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms. 

The researchers made the discovery that COVID-19 can silence pain after they identified a second protein receptor, neuropilin, that is used by SARS-COV-2 to gain entry into cells.

Study co-author Dr. Rajesh Khanna is a professor in the College of Medicine at Tucson’s Department of Pharmacology. He said the fact that SARS-COV-2 relieves pain may explain why nearly half of people who get COVID-19 experience few or no symptoms, even though they are able to spread the disease.

“It made a lot of sense to me that perhaps the reason for the unrelenting spread of COVID-19 is that in the early stages, you’re walking around all fine as if nothing is wrong because your pain has been suppressed,” said Dr. Khanna. 

“You have the virus, but you don’t feel bad because you pain is gone. If we can prove that this pain relief is what is causing COVID-19 to spread further, that’s of enormous value.”

Video Credit: University of Arizona Health Sciences/Debra Bowles

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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