Researchers said in a new study — published in the medical journal Nature Communications Medicine — that reviewing inner ear tissue and cellular models helped them find out that inner ear cells have “molecular machinery to allow SARS-CoV-2 entry.”
- This means that the novel coronavirus can enter through the ears by way of the eustachian tube, which bridges the nose and the middle ear, according to Fox News.
Inner ear infection can cause COVID-19 symptoms such as hearing problems and balance, which may lead to dizziness, the researchers said.
- “Our findings suggest that inner ear infection may be a significant cause of COVID-19-associated problems with hearing and balance,” they wrote.
Konstantina Stankovic, a former Harvard Medical School associate professor who co-led the study, told MIT News that the coronavirus could enter the brain space and infect nerves, including the ones that can connect to ears.
- “This article provides very compelling evidence that Sars-CoV-2 infects the inner ear, and may be causally related to the hearing and balance symptoms in a number of patients with Covid-19 infection,” Agrawal said. “Another exciting advance for our field is the use of 2D and 3D in vitro organoids to observe Sars-CoV-2 infection of the inner ear. This provides a powerful platform to study the impact of a number of other exposures, including other infections, toxins, and cancers, on the inner ear.”
- “People are coming in believing they have a run-of-the-mill earache or ear infection, but then end up testing positive for COVID,” per Yahoo Life.