NSA new study has found that OVID-19 can infect the inner ear and potentially cause a range of hearing problems.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts Eye and Ear examined 10 COVID patients who reported a number of ear-related symptoms.
They found that the virus can infect inner ear cells, particularly hair cells, which can lead to hearing and balance problems.
The team says the findings explain why some COVID-19 patients develop hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness and difficulty balancing.
Co-lead authors, Dr. Konstantina Statović and Dr. Lee Gerk, were studying why viruses such as mumps and hepatitis affected hearing before the epidemic.
In March 2020, after they started seeing coronavirus patients reporting deafness, dizziness or tinnitus, they decided to focus on COVID.
“It wasn’t clear at the time whether this was causally related or coincidental, because hearing loss and tinnitus are very common,” said Stantovic, former chief of otology and neuroscience at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and current chair of the Department of Otolaryngology and Neck Surgery at the College of Medicine. Stanford University Medicine in a statement.
For the study, published in Communications Medicine, the team used new cell models of cells from the human inner ear that are difficult to obtain from the human inner ear.
They claimed that other studies were hampered by a lack of inner ear tissue.
Gehrke, a professor at the MIT Institute of Medical Engineering and Science, said in a statement.
They took human stem cells and turned them into “pluripotent” stem cells, which can take many different forms in the body.
The researchers changed the stem cells into different types of inner ear cells including hair cells, support cells, nerve fibers and Schwann cells, which can be grown in a two-dimensional layer or three-dimensional organoids.
The cells were then taken from 10 patients with coronavirus who were undergoing surgery for a condition that causes dizzy spells or a tumor that causes severe hearing loss and dizziness.
In both the models and human ear samples, the team found that hair cells and Schwann cells contain proteins that the coronavirus needs to enter and infect cells.
This is especially important because hair cells help people maintain balance and understand head movement.
The virus was unable to enter the other cell types they studied.
It is not understood how the virus enters the inner ear, but it may enter through a tube connecting the nose to the middle ear or escape through the nose.
Another theory is that it escapes from the nose through small openings that surround the olfactory nerves, and infects the cranial nerves, including the nerve that connects to the inner ear.
Researchers do not know what percentage of virus patients report hearing difficulties, a problem exacerbated by a lack of testing early in the pandemic.
“Initially this was because routine tests were not readily available for patients diagnosed with COVID, and also, when patients were experiencing more life-threatening complications, they were not paying much attention to whether their hearing had decreased or whether they had tinnitus. Stankovic said.
“We still don’t know what the infection is, but our results really call for increased attention to vestibular auditory symptoms in people who have been exposed to COVID.” – Mail on the Internet