Scientists are calling Covid-19 a silent killer due to its ability to activate the same inflammatory response in the brain as Parkinson's disease.
What was the research? The research was led by the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia, which identified a potential future risk for neurodegenerative conditions in people who've had Covid-19. To study the effect of the virus on the brain's immune cells known as 'microglia', scientists grew human microglia in the laboratory and infected the cells with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
Microglia are also the key cells involved in the progression of brain diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
#UQ-led research has found COVID-19 activates the same inflammatory response in the brain as Parkinson’s disease 🧠🔬🥼— UQ News (@UQ_News) November 1, 2022
Read here: https://t.co/X9qSMqSXLu@UQMedicine #woodruffgroup @doctoralbrother #DrAlbertoAmarillaOrtiz @DWatterson_
📷: Adobe pic.twitter.com/SYypBf5ZF7
The research also showed that the found one single spike protein of the virus was enough to start the process.
More fuel on the 'fire': Dr Albornoz said that the above-mentioned, 'fire' was further exacerbated when there were already proteins in the brain linked to Parkinson's. So, if someone is already pre-disposed to Parkinson's or Alzheimer's and other dementias, having Covid could be like pouring more fuel on that 'fire' in the brain, professor Woodruff said.
Possible treatment? The research however also found a possible treatment. The researchers administered a class of inhibitory drugs developed at the university which are currently in clinical trials with Parkinson's patients.
While the resemblance between Covid and dementia disorders' effects on the brain was alarming, researchers said it also showed a potential cure already existed.