Early in the pandemic, many believed that SARS-COV-2 (“Covid-19”) was a respiratory illness, primarily affecting the lungs. While Covid-19 does affect the lungs, we’ve seen, over the last several months, more and more evidence that Covid-19 is a systemic illness. In other words, it can affect a whole lot more than just your lungs. Recently published research has provided evidence of what many have suspected: Covid-19 invades the brain.
Covid-19 can cause a host of varying symptoms. Not only does it cause respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms, we’ve seen numerous cases where the virus has caused neurologic symptoms, including, but not limited to loss of smell, muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, loss of taste, confusion, numbness, dizziness, psychosis, forgetfulness, and more. Recent studies has given us some explanation for why that is happening.
Covid-19 Invades the Brain
Researchers have published a new study which strongly suggests Covid-19 “can invade the brain and directly act on brain cells, causing neuroinflammation” and damage.(Article: “New evidence shows that Covid-19 invades the Brain” (2021); Study: “The S1 protein of SARS-COV-2 crosses the blood-brain barrier in mice”).In this study, researchers suggest that the Spike 1 (“S1”) protein can cross the blood-brain barrier. Why is this important?
The S1 Protein and Blood-Brain Barrier
The blood-brain barrier protects the brain from certain substances, but also lets in substances that the brain needs, such as oxygen. Unfortunately, as demonstrated by this study, the S1 protein appears to be crossing the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain, causing inflammation and damage.
In layman’s terms, the S1 protein is part of Covid-19. It’s the part that latches on to cells. By demonstrating that S1, a key part of Covid-19, can cross the blood-brain barrier in laboratory mice, the researchers suggest their study is a good model for Covid-19’s general behavior in the human body and shows why it can affect the brain. In other words, because these researchers have shown S1 can cross the blood brain barrier, we can extrapolate that to how Covid-19 behaves in the real world.
In the fight against this disease—and any variants that may develop—it is crucial to understand it as best we can. This new research represents important new evidence in understanding how Covid-19 behaves. It broadens our understanding of the disease as a systemic illness, affecting multiple organs in the body, including the brain.