Microplastics interact with SARS-CoV-2 and facilitate host cell infection†
Microplastics (MP) pollution is a global issue that raises concerns about potential toxicity for environmental and human health. The notion that SARS-CoV-2 is more stable when adsorbed on plastic surfaces urged us to examine whether the virus can attach to MP, which may facilitate infection upon inhalation or ingestion. Here, we describe that MP can bind SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus on their surface and enhance infection of human cells in vitro. This enhanced in vitro infectivity was confirmed with authentic SARS-CoV-2, in parallel with increased expression of inflammation-related caspase-3, IL-8 and TNF-α genes. These results suggest that the presence of MP in the environment or in our respiratory or gastrointestinal tracts has the potential to interact with SARS-CoV-2, and potentially increase viral infectivity and spreading.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Environmental Science – coronavirus research