In a study published in the “Nature Neuroscience” journal, researchers report that the coronavirus affects the brain. This research was done after additional reports came out about people who had been infected with the coronavirus suffering from cognitive effects such as fatigue and brain fog.
The researchers believe that the virus that causes the coronavirus — SARS-CoV-2 — can enter an individual’s brain. They base this theory on the fact that they discovered that, in mice, the spike protein found in the virus could cross the brain-blood barrier. The protein, referred to as the S1 protein, controls which cells the virus can penetrate.
William A. Banks, the study’s corresponding author, explained that the virus’ binding protein and the virus itself also dictated the cells the virus could penetrate. Banks is a University of Washington School of Medicine professor as well as a researcher and physician at the Puget Sound Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.
Puget explained that, much like S1 proteins, binding proteins cause damage as they separate from the virus and bring about inflammation, adding that it was likely that the S1 caused the brain to release inflammatory products and cytokines.
The acute inflammation caused by a coronavirus infection is referred to as a cytokine storm. Once the storm hits in a coronavirus patient’s body, the immune system puts in extra effort to try to kill the virus. This leaves the patient with cognitive issues such as fatigue and brain fog.
Banks and his group of researchers had observed this reaction with HIV and explored whether the reaction would be similar with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Banks stated that the HIV-2 gp 120 protein and the SARS-CoV-2 S1 protein both functioned similarly. Both proteins are glycoproteins and bind to other receptors. Additionally, both of them are toxic to brain tissues and can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Banks explained that researchers and health practitioners knew that the coronavirus infection made it difficult for individuals to breathe because of the infection affecting the lungs. He then noted that further explanation suggests that the breathing problems would be because the virus entered the brain’s respiratory centers and caused problems in the area.
Furthermore, Banks advised individuals who were not taking the virus seriously to do so, adding that the coronavirus’ effects that were caused by the virus entering the brain and the virus’ overall effects could not only worsen over time but could also end up lasting an extended period of time.
Many biopharm firms are working to address diseases that have been in existence before the current pandemic struck. For example, Processa Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PCSA) has, since June last year, acquired a trio of licenses that bolster its drug-development efforts, especially with regard to disease conditions whose treatment needs aren’t being met.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Processa Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PCSA) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/PCSA
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