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Research shows that the COVID-19 virus enters the brain

Translator: Bolysbek Dana

Editor: Akhmetova Aigerim

Author: Bolysbek Dana



In addition to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, COVID-19 is associated with a variety of CNS-related symptoms, including loss of taste and smell, headaches, twitching, confusion, blurred vision, nervous pain, dizziness, and impaired consciousness. It has been suggested that some of the symptoms may be caused by direct exposure of the virus to the central nervous system; for example, respiratory symptoms may in part be related to penetration of SARS-CoV-2 into the respiratory centers of the brain.


The spike protein, often called the S1 protein, determines which cells the virus can enter.

In scientific circles, severe inflammation caused by a COVID-19 infection is called a cytokine storm. The immune system, upon meeting the virus and its proteins in the body, reacts sharply to "kill" the invading virus. An infected person is left with brain fog, fatigue, and other cognitive problems.

Banks and his team saw this body's response to the HIV virus and wanted to know if the same was happening with SARS CoV-2. Banks said the S1 protein in SARS-CoV2 and the gp 120 protein in HIV-1 act in the same way. These are glycoproteins - proteins containing a lot of sugars, the hallmark of proteins that bind to other receptors. These proteins act like the arms of their viruses, clinging to other receptors. Both cross the blood-brain barrier, and S1, like gp120, is likely toxic to brain tissue.

Banks Lab studies the blood-brain barrier in Alzheimer's disease, obesity, diabetes and HIV infection. But in April of this year, they suspended their work, and all 15 people in the laboratory began their experiments with the S1 protein. They recruited longtime collaborator Jacob Raber, a professor in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Neurology, and Radiation Medicine, and his team at Oregon University of Health and Science.

Raber said that in their experiments, S1 transport was faster in the olfactory bulb and kidneys of males than in females. This observation may be related to the increased predisposition of men to more severe COVID-19 outcomes.