COVID-19 seems to have become a mystery that scientists are trying to unfold. Researchers are coming up with a new finding about the virus almost every other week. Recently, a study published in the JAMA Neurology revealed that the novel virus doesn’t only affect your respiratory tract but also your nervous system and heart. Also Read - Already Battling Cancer, India Boxing Legend Dingko Singh Now Tests Positive For Coronavirus

The coronavirus invades a human body and infects organs through the ACE2 receptor present in various tissues including endothelial cells that are present throughout the body in the blood vessels. These cells provide a safe passage to the coronavirus to reach the brain. Scientists have also discovered that ACE2 receptors are found in neurons, olfactory bulb, ventricles, and middle temporal gyrus. Also Read - Coronavirus: Cases in Pakistan Rise Above 69,470; Death Toll Nears 1,500-mark

The researchers believe that the novel coronavirus may enter the central nervous system by several routes, including, through transfer across the junctions of infected neurons, and through the olfactory nerves connecting the nose and the brain, involved in producing the sense of smell. Also Read - Coronavirus in Maharashtra: CM Thackeray 'Thanks' Railways Minister, Allows Doorsetep Delivery of Newspapers

The most common neurologic complaints coming from COVID-19 patients are the loss of sense of smell and taste (anosmia and ageusia), headache, stroke, impairment of consciousness, seizure, and brain damage.

The virus may also reach parts of the brain by infecting immune cells called leukocyte which can cross the protective filter membrane called the blood-brain barrier. This “Trojan horse” mechanism of infecting the brain is seen in HIV. 

Further studies involving brain scans and testing of CNS tissue will be crucial to understanding the biological process of the disease in the nervous system. Early detection of neurological deficits may lead to improved clinical outcomes and better treatment algorithms.

With Inputs From PTI