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Nasal expression of SARS-CoV-2 entry receptors in newborns


Background SARS-CoV-2 infection is typically mild in children. Lower expression of SARS-CoV-2 entry receptors in the nasal epithelia have been described in children compared with adults. However, data from newborns are lacking. We compared nasal expression of four SARS-CoV-2 entry receptors between term and preterm newborns and adults.

Methods Nasal scrape samples were obtained from 28 newborns (17 term and 11 preterm) and 10 adults. Reverse-transcription quantitative PCR was used to measure mRNA expression of ACE2, transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), neuropilin 1 (NRP1) and neuropilin 2 (NRP2) and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R).

Results Expression levels of ACE2, TMPRSS2, NRP1 and NRP2 were lower in term and preterm newborns and IGF1R lower in term newborns compared with adults (p<0.05).

Conclusions Both term and preterm newborns, compared with adults, have lower expression of SARS-CoV-2 entry receptors in nasal epithelium.

  • COVID-19
  • neonatology

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Data collected for this study may be shared with other investigators after approval of methodologically sound proposal. Proposals should be directed to corresponding author. To gain access, data requestors will need to sign a data access agreement.

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

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