Science

Researchers to conduct study to understand neurological complications due to Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 18, 2020 Published on October 18, 2020

The University of Liverpool has initiated a new project -- Covid-Neuro Global programme -- to better understand how and why the coronavirus impacts the brain.

To carry out the study, the team has been awarded £860,000 by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The collaborated study includes research organisations from Brazil, India and Malawi. The project will be led by Professor Tom Solomon at the University's Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences.

Speaking about the study, he said: “While most people with Covid-19 have respiratory problems, all over the world we are seeing many patients with neurological complications too, such as stroke, delirium and encephalitis.”

He added: “We want to understand why, and who is at highest risk of developing these problems, to see if we can prevent these devastating effects by identifying risk factors that we can treat. This is especially important in some overseas countries like India, which is seeing one of the largest Covid-19 outbreaks anywhere in the world.”

The aim

The researchers aim to collate data through their global network and create a single large repository of the full range of neurological disease in Covid-19.

The team will also carry out research studies with Covid-19 patients in hospitals in Brazil, India and Malawi to identify risk factors for neurological disease, especially those which can be treated, such as lack of oxygen in the blood. They will also investigate outcomes for neurological patients, to help better understand what might predict a poor outcome.

The new programme also aligns closely with the work of the University's National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit on Emerging and Zoonotic Infections (HPRU-EZI), which was set up to tackle emerging infectious diseases like Covid-19.

Speaking on it, Dr Tamara Phiri, Consultant Physician at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Clinical Lecturer at the College of Medicine, Malawi said: “This exciting programme will help us make a difference for patients with Covid-19 across the world.” He added: “Importantly for countries like Malawi, it should tell us simply, low-cost ways of predicting who is at highest risk of brain disease with Covid-19, and hopefully ways of preventing it.”

Professor Ravi Vasanthapuram, Senior Professor and former Registrar at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in Bangalore, India, said, “As a large institute specialising in both neurological diseases and viral infections, we’re delighted to have the chance to delve deeper into the effects Covid-19 has on the brain, and improve care for people across India and other low- and middle-income countries.”

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Published on October 18, 2020
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