The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was present in neuron cells, suggesting that neurons related to odor could also be contaminated.
The novel coronavirus might enter the mind of individuals by the nostril, in accordance with a research printed on Monday (November 30) which will assist clarify some neurological signs noticed in COVID-19 sufferers, and inform analysis and measures to stop an infection.
The analysis, printed within the journal Nature Neuroscience, famous that SARS-CoV-2 not solely impacts the respiratory tract but in addition impacts the central nervous system (CNS), leading to neurological signs equivalent to lack of odor, style, headache, fatigue and nausea.
Though current analysis has described the presence of viral RNA within the mind and cerebrospinal fluid, it stays unclear the place the virus enters and the way it’s distributed inside the mind.
The researchers from Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Germany examined the nasopharnyx – the higher a part of the throat that connects to the nasal cavity – a possible first website of viral an infection and replication, and the brains of 33 sufferers – 22 males and 11 females – who died with COVID-19 .
The median age on the time of demise was 71.6 years, and the time from onset of COVID-19 signs to demise was a median of 31 days, they stated.
The researchers stated that they discovered the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, the genetic materials of the virus, and protein within the mind and nasopharynx, including intact virus particles have been additionally detected within the nasopharynx.
The best ranges of viral RNA have been discovered within the olfactory mucous membrane, they stated.
In line with the researchers, the illness period was inversely correlated with the quantity of detectable virus, indicating that greater SARS-CoV-2 RNA ranges have been present in circumstances with shorter illness period.
The group additionally discovered SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in sure sorts of cells inside the olfactory mucous layer, the place it could exploit the proximity of endothelial and nervous tissue to achieve entry to the mind.
In some sufferers, SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was present in cells expressing markers of neurons, suggesting that olfactory sensory neurons could also be contaminated, in addition to within the mind areas that obtain odor and style alerts, the researchers stated.
SARS-CoV-2 was additionally present in different areas of the nervous system, together with the medulla oblongata – the first respiratory and cardiovascular management centre of the mind, they stated.
The researchers famous that additional COVID-19 post-mortem research that embody a broad vary of sampling are wanted to establish the exact mechanisms that mediate the virus’s entry into the mind, and look at different potential ports of entry.