A Contemporary Review of Neurological Sequelae of COVID-19

Link to article at PubMed

Fiani B, et al. Front Neurol 2020 - Review.


Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is currently the center of what has become a public health crisis. While the virus is well-known for its trademark effects on respiratory function, neurological damage has been reported to affect a considerable proportion of severe cases. To characterize the neuro-invasive potential of this disease, a contemporary review of COVID-19 and its neurological sequelae was conducted using the limited, but growing, literature that is available. These neurological squeal are based on the manifestations that the virus has on normal central and peripheral nervous system function. The authors present the virology of the SARS-CoV-2 agent by analyzing its classification as an enveloped, positive-stranded RNA virus. A comprehensive timeline is then presented, indicating the progression of the disease as a public health threat. Furthermore, underlying chronic neurological conditions potentially lead to more adverse cases of COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 may reach ACE2 receptors on neuronal tissue through mode of the general circulation. The CNS may also be susceptible to an immune response where a "cytokine storm" can manifest into neural injury. Histological evidence is provided, while symptoms such as headache and vertigo are highlighted as CNS manifestations of COVID-19. Treatment of these symptoms is addressed with paracetamol being recommended as a possible, but not conclusive, treatment to some CNS symptoms. The authors then discuss the peripheral nervous system sequelae and COVID's impact on causing chemosensory dysfunction starting with viral attack on olfactory sensory neurons and cells types within the lining of the nose. Histological evidence is also provided while symptoms such as anosmia and ageusia are characterized as PNS manifestations. Possible treatment options for these symptoms are then addressed as a major limitation, as anecdotal, and not conclusive evidence can be made. Finally, preventive measures of the neurological sequelae are addressed using a multidirectional approach. Postmortem examinations of the brains of COVID-19 patients are suggested as being a possible key to formulating new understandings of its neuropathology. Lastly, the authors suggest a more comprehensive neurological follow-up of recovered patients, in order to better characterize the neurological sequelae of this illness.

PMID:32655489 | PMC:PMC7324652 | DOI:10.3389/fneur.2020.00640

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