Research Strongly Suggests COVID-19 Virus Enters The Brain
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In a study published Dec.16 in Nature Neuroscience, researchers found that the spike protein, often depicted as the red arms of the virus, can cross the blood-brain barrier in mice. This strongly suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, can enter the brain.

The spike protein, often called the S1 protein, dictates which cells the virus can enter. Usually, the virus does the same thing as its binding protein. The S1 protein likely causes the brain to release cytokines and inflammatory products. The immune system, upon seeing the virus and its proteins, overreacts in its attempt to kill the invading virus. The infected person is left with brain fog, fatigue and other cognitive issues.

The researcher said the S1 protein in SARS-CoV2 and the gp 120 protein in HIV-1 function similarly. They are glycoproteins. They function as the arms and hand for their viruses by grabbing onto other receptors. Both cross the blood-brain barrier and S1, like gp120, is likely toxic to brain tissues.

The study could explain many of the complications from COVID-19. When you have the COVID infection you have trouble breathing and that's because there's infection in your lung, but an additional explanation is that the virus enters the respiratory centers of the brain and causes problems there as well.

The team said in their experiments transport of S1 was faster in the olfactory bulb and kidney of males than females. This observation might relate to the increased susceptibility of men to more severe COVID-19 outcomes.

Source:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-020-00771-8
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