Scientists have identified the mechanism of brain damage by coronavirus

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British and Swiss scientists have established the mechanism of the influence of COVID-19 on the manifestation of neurological complications in those who have undergone the disease. The results of this work are published on the Biorxiv portal.

Previous research has shown that COVID-19 can affect the kidneys, heart, lungs and brain. Patients who have undergone coronavirus infection often suffer from cognitive impairment, insomnia, anxiety, and other neurological symptoms. Until now, the mechanism of the virus’s influence on the brain has remained poorly understood.

To study the effects of COVID-19 on the brain, scientists from the Universities of Zurich and Liverpool infected genetically modified mice with the human hACE2 receptor with different doses of the virus.

It was found that after seven days the virus entered the brain through the olfactory bulb, then spreading to different parts of the brain. With the introduction of high doses of the virus, a wider penetration of the infection into the brain and spinal cord was observed. This could explain the loss of tastes and odors, as well as severe headaches with mild COVID-19, the authors say.

Experts associate neurological symptoms with the influence of the virus on the anterior part of the brain, where there are zones responsible for memory, attention and executive functions. According to experts, infection can disrupt their work, thereby causing the appearance of insomnia, memory impairments and other neurological symptoms.

Scientists have noted a link between the size of the dose of the virus injected and the severity of the effects on the brain. However, they pointed out that a high dose of coronavirus does not cause direct neuronal death.

On April 15, it became known that children after suffering a coronavirus infection may develop dangerous neurological syndromes, such as damage to the brain (up to a stroke), nervous tissue and spine.

In March, a psychiatrist, a WHO expert, Vladimir Mendelevich, named the symptoms indicative of impaired brain function in those who had had a coronavirus infection. According to the specialist, the person’s inability to cope with the previous intellectual activity should be on the alert.