Banner scientists research link between COVID-19 and the brain
The team conducted a NIH-funded
evaluation of the brains of 20 people
who died of COVID-19 disease.
Since news broke early last year that some 36 percent of COVID-19 patients in Wuhan hospitals were developing impaired consciousness, seizures, sensory impairments, and other neurological symptoms, dedicated clinics have been established to study this subset of patients. The Brain and Body Donation Program at Banner Sun Health Research Institute pivoted quickly to study how COVID-19 invades the brain. The study is being led by Dr. Thomas Beach and Dr. Geidy Serrano, who immediately made their data available to the international research community to add to the body of knowledge about the virus.
“Not only were we able to continue the study of our aging population,” said Dr. Serrano, “we were able to contribute to the worldwide emergency response to better understand COVID-19.”
The team conducted a NIH-funded evaluation of the brains of 20 people who died of COVID-19 disease. Evidence of the virus was found in one or more brain regions of four subjects (20%), while two additional subjects had severe neuropathology that was unequivocally related to their COVID-19 disease.
Much remains to be understood about the impact of COVID-19 infection on the brain and whether the virus is cleared from the brain after the acute illness. The study findings are available in the pre-print of MedRxiv. As analysis continues, there are plans to publish in a peer-reviewed journal later this year.
Once again, Banner Research is at the forefront of new brain research, this time with the goal of providing researchers around the world with better information about the novel coronavirus.