The novel coronavirus causes blood vessel inflammation and inhibits immune response, tests conducted on primates indicated Wednesday.
The infection model research by state-run Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB) showed animals exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 experienced rapid multiplying of the virus in the throat and lungs two days after being infected, The Ministry of Science and ICT said. The SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.
It also said blood vessel inflammation detected early after exposure was still present after the third day of infection, although no active virus was discovered on the seventh day. This discovery may provide clues as to why many people who test positive for the virus in real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests do not have symptoms associated with infection.
KRIBB said along with the rapid growth of the virus, its infection model revealed animals undergoing problems in the early stages of infection with their immune systems that have been observed in people with immune deficiency conditions.
The ministry, which oversaw the research, said the findings, published as the cover article in the online issue of the prestigious US Journal of Infectious Disease, will help in the development of treatment drugs and vaccines going forward.
"The tests reveal some characteristics of the coronavirus, such as symptoms and traits and how it is being transmitted," Science Minister Choi Ki-young said at a meeting with KRIBB researchers in Seoul. He said, based on data collected, the government will do its utmost to support efforts to find candidate materials that can be used for treatment and coordinate efforts by local laboratories, schools and bio companies to develop ways to combat the pandemic. (Yonhap)