Covid-19 may trigger severe illness in brain even after lungs recover: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2021

Study published in the journal Viruses state that virus levels in brain about 1,000 times higher than other organs

Researchers from the Georgia State University, in a study, injected SARS-CoV-2 in the nasal passages of mice to understand which organ does the virus affect the most.

They found that the Covid-19 tends to trigger severe illness on the brain even after the lungs were successfully clearing themselves of the virus.

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Lead author and Indian-origin researcher Mukesh Kumar, Assistant Professor, Georgia State University, said: “The belief that it’s a respiratory disease is not necessarily true. Once it infects the brain it can affect your lungs, the heart, everything. It’s the central processor for everything.”

The study, published in the journal Viruses, examined the levels of the virus in multiple organs of the infected mice. A control group of mice received a dose of sterile saline solution in their nasal passages. The team observed that virus levels in the lungs of infected mice peaked three days after infection, then began to decline.

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However, very high levels of infectious virus were found in the brains of all the affected mice on the fifth and sixth days, which is when symptoms became obvious, including laboured breathing, disorientation, and weakness, the authors noted.

The study found virus levels in the brain were about 1,000 times higher than in other parts of the body.

The researcher said the findings could help explain why some Covid-19 patients who recuperate well, with improved lung function, could rapidly relapse and die.

Published on January 22, 2021

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