Coronavirus research in swine helps answer questions

Photo courtesy of Envato Elements
From staff reports

Iowa State University has released research findings showing the pigs are immune to contracting the coronavirus. University scientists are under the spotlight to see how this research could lead to helping humans when it comes to contracting COVID-19. In addition, this research could help in dealing with other swine illnesses. 

Rahul Nelli and Luis Gimenez-Lirola have extensive experience in studying pig diseases, including coronavirus in pigs herds. However, this latest research is different in that they studied the cell process in the animals that is leading to coronavirus protection mechanisms. Their research has found that pigs only get the virus when pigs are injected with a high dose of it. They don’t show clinical signs of being sick and they do not transmit it to other pigs or humans. 

When injected with the coronavirus, pigs react with controlled cell death and a higher rate than the human cells that were also injected. The pig cells’ nucleus shredded early, causing minor damage to the cells and kept the virus confined, which led to the illness not leaking out of the cells. Although the research shows that human cells to experience controlled cell death, human cells do not do as frequently and human cells are more likely to die or be damaged with the virus, which leads them to leaking and then the virus spreads in the body. 

Dr. Nelli and Dr. Gimeniz think that the pigs’ cells have an innate ability to control the illness. They will continue to research how the virus can be killed in humans without causing an excessive immune response when working within cell mechanics. 

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