- ICMR has suggested to open primary school first
- Said- more ability to handle viral infection in children
- Children’s lung cells have fewer ACE2 receptors
- The ACE2 receptor is unable to break down the ANG II protein in Kovid
The ability to handle viral infections among children is much higher than that of adults. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said this on Tuesday. According to ICMR DG Balram Bhargava, first the primary class schools should be opened, then the secondary ones. Bhargava said that the number of ACE2 receptors in the lung cells of young children is less.
ACE is an enzyme (a type of protein) to which the Kovid-19 virus attaches. The reduced number of ACE2 receptors in children means that the virus will not be able to do as much damage to their lungs. ICMR has suggested opening primary schools on this basis.
What is ACE2 receptor?
ACE2 makes small proteins that control cell function. They are found on the outer surface of cells. The SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to ACE2. Just like a key enters a lock. After this, the entry of virus into the cell and the beginning of infection. In a way, ACE2 acts as a door to the cell for Kovid-19.
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Where are ACE2s in the body?
ACE2 is found in many types of cells and tissues. It is found in the lungs, heart, blood arteries, kidney, liver and gastrointestinal tract. It also occurs in epithelial cells that line the nose, mouth, and lungs. Within the lungs it is abundant in type 2 pneumocytes. Pneumocytes are cells that are found in chambers called alveoli. This is where oxygen is absorbed and carbon dioxide is removed.
What is the role of ACE2?
It is an important part of the body’s biochemical pathways. ACE2 plays an important role in regulating blood pressure, wound healing and inflammation. ACE2 controls several activities of a protein called angiotensin II (ANG II). ANG II itself is responsible for increased blood pressure, swelling and injury to the linings of blood vessels. One of the functions of ACE2 is to convert ANG II into other molecules that reduce the effect of ANG II.
In COVID-19, ANG II can increase inflammation and cause the death of alveoli cells. ACE2 reduces the same side effects of ANG II. When SARS-CoV-2 binds to ACE2, it stops ACE2 from doing its job. That is, the amount of ANG II starts increasing, which causes damage to the tissues. In Kovid patients, for this reason, especially the lungs and heart get hurt.
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What difference does the number of ACE2 make?
All humans have ACE2 but their numbers can vary. However, much is not clear about the relationship of ACE2 levels to viral infectivity and severity. According to a research paper on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) portal of the US, when the amount of ACE2 is low, the risk of serious illness from Kovid-19 increases.
Children are more capable of dealing with viral infections: ICMR (File)