CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System were recently surprised at what they discovered regarding the infection rate and spread of COVID-19. 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there was much discussion of how COVID-19 spread through infiltration of the ACE2 protein found in human cells. 

But new research from the UVA School of Medicine reveals that ACE2 isn’t required for infection. Instead, the virus has other methods of infecting. 

“We were not modifying the viral genome in any way, this is just a chemical way of saying what if it found some other way of sticking, could it infect? And that answer was yes,” said Dr. Peter Kasson.

In a release, Kasson says that the unexpected findings may help explain why coronaviruses are so adept at species-hopping and that makes it even more important that scientists keep a close eye on them.