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A potential virus reservoir

Andréa Rocha & Danilo Ferrucci / INFABIC / UNICAMP Adipose tissue may act as a reservoir for the novel coronavirus, suggests a study conducted by researchers at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP). The virus is able to invade human fat cells (adipocytes) and remain inside them. In laboratory tests, SARS-CoV-2 infected adipocytes at the same rate as it infected epithelial cells in the intestine or lungs. The infection was even greater in adiphatocytes (image) that had been subjected to an artificial aging process. The data are preliminary, but if confirmed, could help explain why obese people and the elderly are more at risk of developing a severe form of the infection. “We have fat cells all over our bodies, and obese people have them in larger quantities and sizes,” biomedical researcher Marcelo Mori, who led the study, told Agência FAPESP. “We need to confirm that after replicating, the virus leaves the adipocytes to infect other cells.”