Indore: A study by Indian Institute of Technology Indore revealed that Covid-19 can cause neuronal malfunctions post recovery also.
The study titled “SARS-CoV-2, an Underestimated Pathogen of the Nervous System”has been published in SN Comprehensive Medicine, a publication by Springer Nature.
The study led by Dr Hem Chandra Jha, faculty at Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering, and PhD students Shweta Jakhmola, Omkar Indari and intern Sayantani Chatterjee, systematically reviewed the neurovirulent potential of SARS-CoV-2.
Further, it has been found that the involvement of the Covid-19 virus in the nervous system is more than what the current situation apprehends.
“It is suggested that SARS‐CoV-2 can cause meningitis and encephalitis,” Jha said.
The study introduces variable neurological manifestations displayed by Covid-19 patients like reduced ability to taste, smell, vertigo, impaired consciousness, seizures, headache and dizziness, being most common.
Nonetheless, acute necrotizing haemorrhagic encephalopathy observed in Covid-19 brain is a rare complication associated with intracranial cytokine storms.
A cytokine storm is an overproduction of immune cells and their activating compounds (cytokines), which, in a flu infection, is often associated with a surge of activated immune cells into the lungs. The resulting lung inflammation and fluid build-up can lead to respiratory distress and can be contaminated by a secondary bacterial pneumonia -- often enhancing the mortality in patients.
“Therefore, it is worth discussing the indirect influence of systemic inflammation on the nervous system. Further, the authors have tried to explain various plausible modes of SARS-CoV-2 entry into the nervous system, thus exploring the nervous system’s proclivity towards the viral infection,” Jha said.
Taking help from the past reports of virus-associated studies concerning neuronal damage, the researchers presented modes of SARS-CoV-2 entry into the nervous system. It includes entry through organ like nose, blood stream or through facial or intestinal nerves connected to brain. They further claim a need to address the enhanced incidents of neural dysfunctions in infected individuals.
After identifying initial neurological damages, careful monitoring of Covid-19 patients in the long term is also necessary. SARS-CoV-2 may also have the potential to cause neuronal malfunctions in later stages of life. Therefore, the authors stated SARS-CoV-2 as an underestimated pathogen.
Finally, the study includes illustrations depicting the virus’s plausible routes to the central nervous system and the exaggerated immune response due to SARS-CoV-2 infection.