How COVID-19 Attacks The Brain And May Cause Lasting Damage


January 5, 20216:13 PM ET

JON HAMILTON

Early in the pandemic, people with COVID-19 began reporting an odd symptom: the loss of smell and taste.

The reason wasn’t congestion. Somehow, the SARS-CoV-2 virus appeared to be affecting nerves that carry information from the nose to the brain.

That worried neurologists.

“We were afraid that SARS CoV-2 was going to invade the brain,” says Dr. Gabriel de Erausquin, an investigator at the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Their fears proved well-founded — though the damage may come from the body and brain’s response to the virus rather than the virus itself.

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