September 6, 2022

According to the CDC, there are currently 83,949,036 cases of Covid-19 reported in the United States. We all know someone who has been through Covid-19. Headaches, runny nose, congestion, and losing the ability to taste food are common symptoms. But, until now, there have remained many questions surrounding how COVID-19 affects the central nervous system—especially in patients who haven’t experienced a lot of respiratory symptoms. 


While damage to the central nervous system is increasingly evident, the origin remains unclear. Understanding the effects will ultimately help discover and implement future treatments.


Recently, researchers at Tulane University evaluated the neuropathology damage associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in a nonhuman primate. As it turns out, severe brain inflammation and injury consistent with reduced blood flow or oxygen to the brain, including neuron damage, death, and more, are consistent markers, especially with primates who had little to no respiratory issues. These findings are also compatible with ones reported on autopsied human brains who died from a SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Dr. Tracy Fischer, lead investigator and associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center, states, “Because the subjects didn’t experience significant respiratory symptoms, no one expected them to have the severity of disease that we found in the brain. But the findings were distinct and profound, and undeniably a result of the infection.”

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