IADR Abstract Archives

The Role of the Oral Cavity in SARS-CoV-2- and Other Viral Infections.

Abstract Body: SARS-CoV-2 enters the human body via the respiratory tract and the oral cavity. As other respiratory viruses SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by droplets and smaller aerosols. When they are inhaled SARS-CoV-2 infects epithelial cells of the upper airways. A second port of entry has been confirmed in several studies: SARS-CoV-2 also replicates in oral mucosa-and salivary gland cells. These sites are also virus reservoirs that can infect other organs, e.g. lungs and gastrointestinal tract as well as other individuals. Viral loads in saliva can surpass 1010 Geq/ml and infectious viral particles have been detected.
Droplets quickly sink to surfaces and thus only contaminate air and surfaces within 1.5 to 2 m. Aerosols including infectious SARS-CoV-2 can stay in the air for several hours possibly contaminating the entire indoor room.
In acute infection SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in other organs than the respiratory tract, i.e. GI- and urinary tract and immune tissues. Even after mild COVID-19 symptoms sequelae can be found in heart, lungs kidneys and blood vessels. Usually they do not correlate to post-COVID symptoms. However there can be generalized complications as “multisystem inflammatory syndrome” or “long COVID”.
In the oral cavity SARS-CoV-2 causes taste loss and mucosal lesions. Various cell types can be infected in cell culture models.
As SARS-CoV-2 influenza viruses are readily detected in saliva and nasopharyngeal swabs during acute infections. However, influenza viruses are usually excreted around one week, whereas SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be detected in saliva and swabs longer.
Compared to respiratory viruses human papilloma viruses can infect mucosa epithelial cells chronically. A possible consequence are cancers of the oral cavity; they are detected with increased frequency in the last years. Recently HPV DNA in saliva has been described as a tumor marker.

2022 Pan European Region Oral Health Congress (Marseille, France)
Marseille, France
  • Hoffmann, Dieter  ( Institute for Virology , Munich , Germany )
  • Symposium
    Symposium: What has dentistry learned from the pandemic? (supported by Dentaid Research center)
    Thursday, 09/15/2022 , 01:30PM - 03:30PM