Chinese scientists have identified a new way for SARS-CoV-2 to enter the cells of the lungs and bronchi, Report informs citing Chinese media.

For example, the AXL enzyme can be the gateway to cells. Earlier, it was believed that the ACE2 protein is the main channel of virus penetration.

AXL is a membrane protein involved in transferring signals from connective tissues to the cell’s internal environment. It is responsible for several physiological processes: cell survival, differentiation, immune responses, and much more.

Researchers have shown that disabling these receptors significantly reduced the number of viral copies in human lung epithelial cells.

The experiments were carried out by scientists from the Key Laboratory of Structural Biology of Zhejiang Province and the Westlake Institute for Advanced Study in Hangzhou, and other researchers.