A new study published on Monday by journal Nature Neuroscience has found that the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can enter the human brain after being inhaled through the nose and gets stuck in the nasal mucus. The virus not only affects the respiratory tract but also impacts the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in neurological symptoms such as loss of smell, taste, headache, fatigue and nausea.
Pedestrians wear face masks as a precaution on Oxford Street in London. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images
A team of researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany have analyzed the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat that connects to the nasal cavity. Probably the first site of viral infection, replication and the brains of 33 patients who died after contracting COVID-19.
The researchers have found evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA, the genetic material of the virus in nasal mucus as well as in brain tissue. The intact virus particles were also detected in the nasopharynx.
The highest levels of viral RNA were found in the olfactory mucous membrane,
Researchers believe that SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in certain types of cells within the olfactory mucous layer, uses neuroanatomical connections such as the olfactory nerve in order to reach the brain.
The presence of SARS-CoV-2 was found in nerve cells, indicating that the olfactory neurons are infected resulting in the loss of the sense of smell or taste.
SARS-CoV-2 was also found in areas of the nervous causing infuriating impact on respiratory function, adding to breathing problems, infection of the lungs and cardiovascular functions of the brain.
The experts distinguished that further Covid-19 autopsy studies include a broad range of sampling and are needed to identify the precise mechanisms that mediate the virus’s entry into the brain, and examine other potential ports of entry.
It is necessary to put on masks in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But Some people prefer to wear their masks pulled down covering only their mouth and leaving their nose exposed. Researchers say that the nose is highly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Masks are effective when worn correctly, covering your nose and mouth.
COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets, that travel into the air when you cough, sneeze, talk, shout, or sing. These droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of people who are near you or they may breathe these droplets in.