Neurological manifestations are a significant complication of coronavirus infection disease-19 (COVID-19). Understanding how COVID-19 contributes to neurological disease is needed for appropriate treatment of infected patients, as well as in initiating relevant follow-up care after recovery. Investigation of autopsied brain tissue has been key to advancing our understanding of the neuropathogenesis of a large number of infectious and non-infectious diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS). Due to the highly infectious nature of the etiologic agent of COVID-19, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), there is a paucity of tissues available for comprehensive investigation. Here, we show for the first time, microhemorrhages and neuropathology that is consistent with hypoxic injury in SARS-CoV-2 infected non-human primates (NHPs). Importantly, this was seen among infected animals that did not develop severe respiratory disease. This finding underscores the importance of vaccinating against SARS-CoV-2, even among populations that have a reduced risk for developing of severe disease, to prevent long-term or permanent neurological sequelae. Sparse virus was detected in brain endothelial cells but did not associate with the severity of CNS injury. We anticipate our findings will advance our current understanding of the neuropathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 infected NHPs are a highly relevant animal model for investigating COVID-19 neuropathogenesis among human subjects.
That is from new Fast Grants supported research by Tracy Fischer, et.al. And here are some related earlier results from Kabbani and Olds. Here are some more general recent results about brain damage.
How bad are these micro-hemorrhages anyway? I don’t know! You may notice I have hardly lunged at the “permanent damage” papers that have been coming out on Covid (in fact many of them already have collapsed or not replicated). But there are genuine reasons for caution, these results do not seem to be collapsing, and Covid-19 is not just a bunch of people trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. And “exposing the young” decisions should not be taken lightly either. The people who are very cautious about reopening may be too risk-averse given realistic alternatives, but they are not all just statists, Trump haters, lazy teachers’ unions, and so on. There are very genuine concerns here.