Shredder' Enzyme Might Tear Cells Apart In Severe COVID-19

Man getting a nasal swap
Live Science
An enzyme that can tear cell membranes to shreds may contribute to the organ damage that ultimately kills some people with severe COVID-19. The enzyme, called "secreted phospholipase A2 Group IIA" (sPLA2-IIA), normally protects the body from invaders, such as bacteria, by grabbing hold of specific fats in the microbes' membranes and tearing them apart, said senior author Dr. Floyd Chilton, a biochemist and director of the Precision Nutrition and Wellness Initiative at the University of Arizona. Human cells also contain these fats, but unlike bacteria, human cells carry these fat molecules on the inner lining of their cell membranes, rather than on the outer surface.