The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has affected more than 10 million people, including pregnant women. To date, no consistent evidence for the vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 exists. The novel coronavirus canonically utilizes the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor and the serine protease TMPRSS2 for cell entry. Herein, building upon our previous single-cell study (Pique-Regi, 2019), another study, and new single-cell/nuclei RNA-sequencing data, we investigated the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 throughout pregnancy in the placenta as well as in third-trimester chorioamniotic membranes. We report that co-transcription of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 is negligible in the placenta, thus not a likely path of vertical transmission for SARS-CoV-2. By contrast, receptors for Zika virus and cytomegalovirus, which cause congenital infections, are highly expressed by placental cell types. These data show that the placenta minimally expresses the canonical cell-entry mediators for SARS-CoV-2.
About The Expert
Adi L Tarca