The COVID-19 symptoms on the center stage are those associated with pneumonia and respiratory distress. But there are also a host of symptoms that relate to the central nervous system. Although it is unclear whether or not the SARS-CoV-2 virus can enter the brain, a new study found that the spike protein can cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB) in mice, strongly suggesting that it can.
The research is published in Nature Neuroscience in the paper, “The S1 protein of SARS-CoV-2 crosses the blood–brain barrier in mice.”
Coronaviruses, including the closely related SARS virus that caused the 2003–2004 outbreak, have been reported to be able to cross the BBB.