Don’t know about you, but I latest news about CoVID-19 somewhat worried. In the vast majority of cases CоVID-19 flows as a respiratory infection that causes fever, fatigue, sore throat, cough and, in more severe cases, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. However, the latest scientific studies have shown that the virus SARS-CoV-2, presumably mutated in 30 different strains, and many infected people have no symptoms but remain contagious. Even more disturbing is the data that more than a third of patients have neurological symptoms, such as severe encephalitis, which causes inflammation and swelling of the brain.
The virus which can all
So, despite the “classic symptoms” CoVID-19, we know that the coronavirus can also infect cells outside the respiratory tract and cause a range of symptoms from gastro-intestinal diseases (diarrhea and nausea) to heart damage and blood clotting. Unfortunately, we have to add to this list, and neurological symptoms. Writes The Conversation, several recent studies revealed the presence of neurological symptoms in patients with CоVID-19. Some of these studies represent case reportswhere symptoms were observed among individuals. Several reports described positive CоVID-19 patients suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The Guillain-Barre syndrome is a neurological disorder in which the immune system responds to infection and end up mistakenly attacks nerve cells, leading to muscle weakness and eventually paralysis.
In other cases, studies described severe encephalitis in a patient CоVID-19 (inflammation and swelling of the brain) and stroke in healthy young men with mild symptoms CоVID-19. This feature of the novel coronavirus have drawn attention of scientists from China and France, and explored the prevalence of neurological disorders in patients CоVID-19. The results showedthat 36% of patients have neurological symptoms. Many of these symptoms were mild and manifested itself in a headache or dizziness, which could be caused by a strong immune response. But was also noticed and other more specific and severe symptoms, including loss of smell or taste, muscle weakness, stroke, seizures and hallucinations.
The researchers note that these symptoms are more often seen in severe cases, and the estimates range from 46% to 84% of cases, with severe neurologic symptoms. The change of consciousness, such as disorientation, inattention and movement disorders, was also observed in severe cases and was maintained after recovery. But why is this happening?
Swelling and brain damage
SARS-CoV-2, as experts believe, can cause neurological disorders. This is either directly due to infection of the brain or as a result of excessive immune response against coronavirus. So, a recent study of fatal cases CoVID-19 have identified a new coronavirus in the brain infected. It was also suggested that infection of the olfactory neurons in the nose can contribute to the spread of the virus from the respiratory tract to the brain.
Cells of the human brain Express ACE2 protein on its surface. ACE2 is a protein that is involved in the regulation of blood pressure and is the receptor that the virus uses to penetrate and infect cells. This protein found on endothelial cells lining the blood vessels and is responsible for many functions of the vascular system. Infected endothelial cells can allow the virus to pass from the airway into the blood and then to the brain where reproduction of viral particles can cause the appearance of neurological symptoms.
Experts say that SARS-CoV-2 leads to very strong reactions of the immune system. Such an immune response and can cause the development of Guillain–Barre syndrome and other neurological symptoms.
CoVID-19 – not a unique virus
No matter how special, did not seem to us the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, it is not unique respiratory virus that can affect the brain. Flu, measles and other respiratory infections are able to affect the brain or Central nervous system and cause serious neurological diseases. Moreover, it was found that other coronaviruses – and, remember, at least 40 – infect the brain and also cause neurological disorders. Thus, the seasonal coronavirus HCoV-OC43 typically cause SARS is very light, but it can be a complication of encephalitis. Fortunately, respiratory viruses that enter the brain are rare. But given the rapid proliferation of CoVID-19 at the planet, there is a risk of severe neurological diseases patients in a serious condition.