ApoE4, a gene associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, also appears to increase susceptibility and the severity of COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for coronavirus, increased susceptibility to COVID-19 in ApoE4 neurons and astrocytes in brain organoid models.
Melatonin produced in the lungs acts as a barrier defense against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by blocking the expression of genes that encode proteins in cells acting as viral entry points.
People with schizophrenia are 2.7 times more likely to die as a result of contracting coronavirus than other groups of people. Schizophrenia is second only to age in mortality risk for COVID-19 infection.The higher risk could not be explained by other risk factors associated with the mental health disorder, including smoking, heart disease, and diabetes. People with other mental health and anxiety disorders are not at increased risk of death associated with COVID-19.
Mice exposed to COVID-19 through the nasal passage, researchers noted a rapid and escalated attack on the brain by the virus that triggered a more severe outcome of the infection, even after the lungs were cleared of the disease. Researchers also found virus levels were over 1,000 times higher in the brain than other parts of the body.
Using over a century of data from other pandemics, and applying knowledge about the current COVID-19 infection, researchers predict the long term effects coronavirus will have on the brain and nervous system.