Coronavirus can be a selective biological weapon, targeting unknown
Severe infection by 2019-nCov could result in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis, causing death in approximately 15% of infected individuals (1,2). Once contacted with the human airway, the spike proteins of this virus can associate with the surface receptors of sensitive cells, which mediated the entrance of the virus into target cells for further replication. Recently, Xu et.al., modeled the spike protein to identify the receptor for 2019-nCov, and indicated that Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) could be the receptor for this virus (3). ACE2 is previously known as the receptor for SARS-Cov and NL63 (4-6). According to their modeling, although the binding strength between 2019-nCov and ACE2 is weaker than that between SARS-Cov and ACE2, it is still much higher than the threshold required for virus infection. Zhou et. al. conducted virus infectivity studies and showed that ACE2 is essential for 2019-nCov to enter HeLa cells (7). These data indicated that ACE2 is likely to be the receptor for 2019-nCov.
The expression and distribution of the receptor decide the route of virus infection and the route of infection has a major implication for understanding the pathogenesis and designing therapeutic strategies. Previous studies have investigated the RNA expression of ACE2 in 72 human tissues (8). However, the lung is a complex organ with multiple types of cells, and such real-time PCR RNA profiling is based on bulk tissue analysis with no way to elucidate the ACE2 expression in each type of cell in the human lung. The ACE2 protein level is also investigated by immunostaining in lung and other organs (8,9). These studies showed that in normal human lung, ACE2 is mainly expressed by type II and type I alveolar epithelial cells. Endothelial cells were also reported to be ACE2 positive. However, immunostaining analysis is known for its lack of signal specificity, and accurate quantification is also another challenge for such analysis.
A novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December of 2019. This new coronavirus has resulted in thousands of cases of lethal disease in China, with additional patients being identified in a rapidly growing number internationally. 2019-nCov was reported to share the same receptor, Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), with SARS-Cov. Here based on the public database and the state-of-the-art single-cell RNA-Seq technique, we analyzed the ACE2 RNA expression profile in the normal human lungs. The result indicates that the ACE2 virus receptor expression is concentrated in a small population of type II alveolar cells (AT2). Surprisingly, we found that this population of ACE2-expressing AT2 also highly expressed many other genes that positively regulating viral reproduction and transmission. A comparison between eight individual samples demonstrated that the Asian male one has an extremely large number of ACE2-expressing cells in the lung. This study provides a biological background for the epidemic investigation of the 2019-nCov infection disease, and could be informative for future anti-ACE2 therapeutic strategy development.
Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research: Lab-made coronavirus related to SARS can infect human cells … the new coronavirus is genetically engineered in the lab … during this, they created a chimera, a virus with the SHC014 virus surface protein, and SARS guts. This chimera has infected human airway (breathing) cells, and researchers have shown that the SHC014 virus surface protein can bind to the key cell receptor and penetrate inside …
Although officially no power admits to possessing such weapons, the possibility of developing microorganisms killing only people of a particular race or ethnic group has been under discussion since the 1990s. In 1999, the book Biotechnology, weapons and humanity was published. The author is the British Medical Association. The fourth chapter is entitled “Genetic weapons”.
In August 1997, the same minister claimed that “the scientific community is” very close “to produce” genetically modified pathogens that may be ethnically specific “. Even earlier, in 1992, Defense News magazine made the following statement: “Genetic engineering allows us to recognize the DNA of different people and to stick to it various things that kill only a certain group of people …
International Operations: Medical Operations Manual in Combat Intervention Training Area (Part II):