The researchers say that SARS-CoV-2 enters lung cells by binding to a protein called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and the team determined that the ACE2 protein is produced by neurons and that blocking this protein prevents the virus from human brain organoids.
This research was funded by the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK, the Royal Society and Wellcome.
What will the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak look like ten years from now as it passes from pandemic to endemic, maintained at a constant baseline level in populations without being fueled by outside infections?
"Further studies are needed to understand whether livestock and companion animals could be receptive to Covid-19 infection from humans and act as reservoirs for this disease".
The variant, known as B.1.1.7, can provide false negative results on tests for SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19 - according to the FDA.
The authors predict that SARS-CoV-2 - unlike more deadly coronavirus cousins SARS and MERS - may eventually spread like the most common, non-deadly human coronaviruses do, providing initial exposure to children under the age of 5, when immune responses are less likely to result in serious illness.
The model suggests that if the vaccines induce short-lived protection against becoming reinfected but reduce the severity of the disease, as is the case with other endemic coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 may become endemic more quickly.
The researchers revealed that the virus was able to infect neurons in these organoids and use the neuronal cell machinery to replicate.
"Slowing down the epidemic through social distancing measures" that "flatten the curve" delays infections and will prevent the most possible deaths from happening, the researchers added, "affording critical time for the development of an effective vaccine".
"We used three independent approaches to probe the capacity of SARS-CoV-2 to infect the brain", the authors wrote.
When conducting the research, the team performed ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing analyses that compared mitochondrial-COVID-19 interactions to 3 other viruses, which included respiratory syncytial virus, seasonal influenza A virus, and human parainfluenza virus 3.
An image of a human brain organoid shows numerous dying cells (green) surrounding neurons (gray) that have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 (red).
To find out if the antibodies really remained or gradually disappeared during the recovery period, the group of researchers (which also included virologist Daniela Weiskopf) analyzed blood samples from 188 patients with covid-19. And, the patients had experienced ischemia, a type of stroke that is caused due to blockage in an artery that supplies blood to your brain.
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found that coronavirus can directly infect the central nervous system.