Covid-19 may increase risk of degenerative neurological disease

UA study, published in the scientific journal Movement Disorders, found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, increases the risk of brain disturbance, such as that seen in Parkinson’s disease.

“Parkinson’s disease is a rare disease that affects 2% of the population over 55 years of age, so the increased risk is not necessarily a cause for panic”, underlined Richard Smeyne, Director of Thomas Jefferson University, in the United States, quoted by international media. . Still, he argues that “understanding how the coronavirus impacts the brain can help us prepare for the long-term consequences of this pandemic.”

The study was conducted in mice genetically modified with the human ACE2 receptor. The researchers concluded that the coronavirus was making the brain more susceptible to a toxin that induces the loss of nerve cells seen in Parkinson’s disease.

The animals were purposely infected with SARS-CoV-2. One month after the survivors (80%) had recovered, one group was injected with a low dose of MPTP, which normally would not cause any loss of neurons. The control group received saline solution.

Two weeks later, through an analysis of the rats’ brains, the scientists found that the Covid-19 infection did not, by itself, have any effect on dopaminergic neurons in the basal ganglia. However, mice that received a low dose of MPTP after recovering from the infection demonstrated the classic pattern of neuron loss seen in Parkinson’s disease.

Read Also: WHO warns that pandemic is not over despite decline in global numbers

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