Paul-Ehrlich-Institut – Tissue Damage through Cell Fusion in COVID-19 and the Role of the Spike Protein

The Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells by membrane fusion after contact of its spike protein with the ACE2 receptor. New studies provide proof for a second role of the protein in COVID-19: Fusion of body cells. A research team of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut has developed promising assays of how to measure these membrane functions. Smallest amounts of spike protein present in cell culture suffice to allow infected and non-infected cells to fuse and die. Virus particles with spike protein on their surface can cause cells to fuse with their neighbours even by contact alone. iScience reports on the results in its online edition of 9 Feb. 2021.

Spike protein S plays a major role for the infectivity of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the course of infection (pathogenicity). Fused cells in the lungs of patients who died of COVID-19 give rise to the assumption that the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 not only enables the virus to enter cells but also to fuse infected cells with non-infected ones.

An important finding is that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is extremely fusion active: Even smallest, hardly detectable amounts of spike protein on the cell surface suffice to induce cell fusion and thus cell death. However, the spike protein is capable of a lot more: The contact of virus particles, which bear the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein on their surface, with human cells is sufficient for the cells to fuse. For the cells affected, this fusion can mean cell death. This process, which is called “fusion-from-without” highlights the tremendous membrane fusion activity of the spike protein.

Paul-Ehrlich-Institut – Press Releases – Measure What Fuses – Tissue Damage through Cell Fusion in COVID-19 and the Role of the Spike Protein

Maybe this cell fusion activity is what creates blood clotting, both in COVID-19 patients, and in those getting the jab?

Spike proteins seem to be a like a giant ball of spikes, which punctures cells, damaging them, and then they fuse together and die…

Do the spike proteins offered in the experimental vaccines cause this same fusing and killing of cells to happen, and if so, for how long?