A total of 91.5 million people had already acquired SARS-CoV-2, resulting to COVID-19, around the globe.
At least 2 million died, while over 50 million reportedly recovered from the virus. Unfortunately, the record do not seem to get lower.
In fact, a new warning was released by the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM). SARS-CoV-2 has a deep effect in the brain, just like what happens in a patient’s respiratory senses.
SARS-CoV-2 new study
The Yale School of Medicine has discovered that SARS-CoV-2 strain can affect a patient’s brain tissues.
According to report from Eurek Alert, though COVID-19 is primarily called as a ‘respiratory disease,’ it can still affect major parts of the body such as the brain.
Researchers found out that COVID-19 symptoms like headaches, loss of taste and smell, can result to something worse in the brain such as impaired consciousness, delirium, strokes, and cerebral hemorrhage.
This fact became the basis of Yale researchers to identify its deeper effect in the brain.
A team led by Iwasaki and co-senior author Kaya Bilguvar, an associate professor at Yale School of Medicine, studied the virus through using miniature 3D organs, grown in the lab.
It was found that the virus can easily affect brain neurons in its organoids and use the neuronal cell machinery to replicate.
The virus was able to boost the production of infected cells. While, other untouched cells immediately die after not receiving the proper oxygen supply needed for the brain.
In this process, the SARS-CoV-2 can easily affect the function of the brain, resulting to worst symptoms recorded in the history.
“Understanding the full extent of viral invasion is crucial to treating patients, as we begin to try to figure out the long-term consequences of COVID-19, many of which are predicted to involve the central nervous system,” says Akiko Iwasaki, a professor at Yale School of Medicine.
“Our study clearly demonstrates that neurons can become a target of SARS-CoV-2 infection, with devastating consequences of localized ischemia in the brain and cell death,” Kaya Bilguvar says. “Our results suggest that neurologic symptoms associated with COVID-19 may be related to these consequences, and may help guide rational approaches to the treatment of COVID-19 patients with neuronal disorders.”
ACE2 protein’s contribution on the brain damage
In the past studies, it was concluded that SARS-CoV-2 enters the lung cells by binding to ACE2 protein.
So, the Yale researchers identified its main contribution to the brain damage.
It was found that “ACE2 protein is, in fact, produced by neurons and that blocking this protein prevents the virus from human brain organoids.”
So far, there were cases that COVID-19 patients trigger a brain problem as one of their main signs. However, the Yale researchers clarified that this claim still needs further studies, in order to be proven and accepted in the medicine world.
“Future studies will be needed to investigate what might predispose some patients to infections of the central nervous system and to determine the route of SARS-CoV-2 invasion into the brain and the sequence of infection in different cell types within the central nervous system that will help validate the temporal relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and ischemic infarcts in patients,” Iwasaki adds.