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The coronavirus enters the brain of some patients

I don’t know about you, but the latest news about CoVID-19 is somewhat disturbing. In the vast majority of cases, CVID-19 occurs as a respiratory infection that causes fever, fatigue, sore throat, cough, and, in more severe cases, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. However, the results of recent scientific studies have shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has presumably already mutated into 30 different strains, and many infected people do not experience any symptoms, but remain contagious. Even more worryingly, data shows that more than a third of patients have neurological symptoms, such as severe encephalitis, which causes inflammation and swelling of the brain.

A virus that can do everything
So, despite the” classic symptoms ” of CoVID-19, we know that the coronavirus is also able to infect cells outside the respiratory tract and cause a wide range of symptoms from gastrointestinal diseases (diarrhea and nausea) to heart damage and blood clotting disorders. Unfortunately, we have to add to this list, and neurological symptoms. According to the Conversation, several recent studies have revealed the presence of neurological symptoms in patients with CVID-19. Some of these studies are reports of cases where symptoms have been observed in individuals. Several reports have described patients infected with CVID-19 who suffer from Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a neurological disorder in which the immune system reacts to infection and eventually mistakenly attacks nerve cells, leading to muscle weakness and eventually paralysis.

In other cases, studies have described severe encephalitis in a CVID-19 patient (inflammation and swelling of the brain) and stroke in healthy young people with mild CVID-19 symptoms. This feature of the new coronavirus drew the attention of scientists from China and France and studied the prevalence of neurological disorders in patients with CVID-19. The results showed that 36% of patients have neurological symptoms. Many of these symptoms were mild and manifested as headaches or dizziness, which could be caused by the body’s strong immune response. But other more specific and severe symptoms have also been observed, including loss of smell or taste, muscle weakness, stroke, convulsions, and hallucinations.

Researchers note that these symptoms are more common in severe cases, with estimates ranging from 46% to 84% of cases with severe neurological symptoms. Changes in consciousness, such as disorientation, inattention, and motor disorders, were also observed in severe cases and persisted after recovery. But why is this happening?

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Edema and brain damage
SARS-CoV-2, experts believe, can cause the appearance of neurological disorders. This is either directly due to infection of the brain, or as a result of an overreaction of the immune system to the coronavirus. For example, recent studies of CoVID-19 deaths have identified a new coronavirus in the brains of infected people. It has also been suggested that infection of olfactory neurons in the nose may contribute to the spread of the virus from the respiratory tract to the brain.

Human brain cells Express the ACE2 protein on their surface. ACE2 is a protein that is involved in regulating blood pressure and is a receptor that the virus uses to enter and infect cells. This protein was found on endothelial cells that line blood vessels and are responsible for many functions of the vascular system. Infected endothelial cells can allow the virus to pass from the respiratory tract to the blood, and then to the brain, where the multiplication of viral particles can cause neurological symptoms.

Experts note that SARS-CoV-2 leads to a very strong immune system response. Such an immune response can cause the development of Guillain-Barre syndrome and other neurological symptoms.

CoVID-19 is not a unique virus
However special the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus may seem to us, it is not a unique respiratory virus that can infect the brain. Influenza, measles and other respiratory infections can infect the brain or Central nervous system and cause serious neurological diseases. Moreover, it turned out that other coronaviruses – and there are at least 40 of them – infect the brain and also cause neurological disorders. Thus, the seasonal hcov-OC43 coronavirus usually causes very mild SARS, but encephalitis can become a complication. Fortunately, respiratory viruses that enter the brain are rare. But given the rapid spread of CoVID-19 across the planet, there is a risk of developing serious neurological diseases in patients in serious condition.

Do you observe self-isolation or have you personally encountered CoVID-19? Share your story in the comments section of this article and don’t forget to check out our cozy telegram chat, where we discuss almost everything in the world.

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