Scary realization! It has been known for some time that Covid-19 can infect not only the lungs but also other organs of the human body. Even the brain, which is actually well protected, is not safe from infestation by the virus. Now scientists have new insights into how an infection of the brain takes place.
Corona virus also attacks the brain
When “brain fog” is mentioned, it loosely translates to a foggy brain. This is not a medical term, but meets describes the circumstance of confusion or inability to think clearly, as can sometimes occur in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. However, the coronavirus is now again causing such conditions. For this effect was observed when some people had contracted an infection with Covid-19. But apparently the virus is also capable of causing further damage. It can also cause anxiety, headaches, hallucinations, depression and other things. In particularly severe cases, even
Strokes and seizures have been observed. A new study now confirms that a good 80 percent of the corona patients studied also experienced neurological complications during their illness. Scientists have now tried to determine how the virus can enter the brain.
How the coronavirus gets into the brain
The scientists were particularly interested in how the virus manages to gain access to nerve cells. This is because these cells do not have a molecular gateway, such as lung cells, which are therefore attacked by Corona. An initial assumption is that the virus enters the brain via the olfactory pathway and opens its way into the nerve cell by means of a surface receptor NRP1 and an enzyme called furin. But infection also seems possible via the peripheral nervous system, since the nervous system runs throughout the body. In mice, researchers have already been able to demonstrate how the virus enters the brain in this way. So far, however, experts have not been able to reach a consensus, so further research is needed. After all, Walter J. Koroshetz, director of the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, says that it has still not been confirmed that the coronavirus actually infects neurons. The first thing to be determined now is which path the virus takes in the brain itself. Scientists from California have now investigated how the virus spreads in the brains of rhesus monkeys. There, the virus had spread mainly in the cerebral cortex. This observation was made mainly in animals with diabetes. The researchers conclude that the viruses gain access to the monkeys’ brains via the olfactory system, then infect the nerve cells and then spread to other areas of the brain. With regard to humans, however, many questions remain unanswered here.