ISLAMABAD-Since the start of the pandemic, scientists have learned that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is quite cunning. When the virus enters the body, it’s capable of turning off an entire branch of the immune system, allowing it to spread for days before the immune system can sound the alarm on the intruder. However, researchers still don’t know the full scope of tissues and cell types that are most vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2. Most research has focused on identifying genes and pathways that facilitate the virus’s entry into lung cells – yet both clinical and scientific data indicate that it can cause damage in a wide range of organs. 

Now, new Cornell research has developed potential roadmaps for how the virus infects these other organs and identifies what molecular factors could help facilitate or restrict infection. 

“The data suggest that it’s not just a respiratory disease. It’s much broader than that, and it has the potential to affect many other organs,” said Cedric Feschotte, professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Our analyses suggest that there is a wide range of cellular vulnerabilities.”