A new study was able to confirm that the SARS-CoV-2 has the ability to inflict damage to the brain directly. In the research, the coronavirus was found to have hidden properties that allow it to infiltrate the neurological organ and attack the cells inside of it. Among the main interests of the study were the vascular cells that build up the blood-brain barrier. The experts believe that this region is the most vulnerable against the coronavirus, and further damages could lead to either long or short-term neurological impacts.
Can the Coronavirus Damage the Brain Directly?
Previous studies were able to identify some of the threats that the coronavirus poses toward the nervous system. The discovery of the COVID-19's neurological effects is identified along with other health risks. Among the conditions that the coronavirus could relay to a positive patient is long-term brain fog, which manifests along with the hidden COVID-19 symptoms. Moreover, the negative effects of coronavirus in the brain are given attention through the study of inflammation markers on the corpses of patients that died due to the disease.
Throughout the study that correlates the brain and COVID-19, there are no confirmed cases in which the coronavirus directly enters the organ and damages it. In addition, COVID-induced neuroinflammation was not yet proven to manifest.
A comprehensive study was previously conducted by neuroscience experts from Yale University to identify the effects of coronavirus on the brain and its cells. The research determined and presented a demonstration of how the coronavirus could inflict the brain and its corresponding cells directly. However, the model gained a lot of speculation from other experts and questioned its application to real-world infection. Among the challenges limiting the data are the available specimens from the deceased COVID-19 patients, which is significantly different from a live body system
Cerebral Vascular Endothelial Cells in Blood-Brain Barrier are Vulnerable to COVID-19
The latest study somehow supports the previous claims regarding the coronavirus and its ability to damage the brain directly. The main interest of the research was one of the active brain cells known as cerebral vascular endothelial cells. These cells are the main components of the blood-brain barrier structure or the protective layer that divides the inner materials of the brain and the unnecessary or foreign elements.
The correlation between the coronavirus and the blood-brain barrier was examined through the brain tissues of deceased COVID-19 patients. University of Lübeck Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism's Institute for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology expert Jan Wenzel said in a New Atlas report that dead cells are comparatively more in COVID-19 patients than the well-matched control.
To identify how the coronavirus could kill the endothelial cells, animal specimens were examined under the effects of the disease. It was found that COVID-19 could decrease the rate of blood flow in the brain. The worst part is that these problems could give the infected individual unwanted cognitive conditions and risk the brain with devastating neurodegenerative disorders. The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, titled "The SARS-CoV-2 main protease Mpro causes microvascular brain pathology by cleaving NEMO in brain endothelial cells."
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