immune system implicated in virus-linked brain damage, study finds

The brains of nine people who died quickly after contracting Covid-19 were studied for this article published in the journal Brain. The team of researchers from the American Institutes of Health (NIH) did not detect traces of the virus in the brain but, conversely, antibodies, causing damage to the walls of blood vessels which cause especially inflammation.

Avenues for future treatments

This discovery could explain some of the lasting effects of Covid-19, such as migraines, chronic fatigue, loss of taste and smell, sleep problems or even the feeling of “brain fog”, a state of intellectual fatigue. . It could also open up avenues for future treatments.

“Patients often develop neurological complications with Covid-19, but the associated pathophysiological process is not well understood,” explained Avindra Nath, the first author of the study. “I think that with this article, we have new elements on this process”, according to the researcher

The brains of the nine patients, aged 24 to 73, were compared with ten others from a control group. The researchers observed neuronal inflammation and the immune response. Antibodies produced in response to Covid-19 have mistakenly targeted the cells that make up the blood-brain barrier, a structure that surrounds blood vessels in the brain and tries to block foreign substances, scientists say.

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