If you’re one of the millions of people who have recovered from COVID-19 but are still struggling with symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, and other neurological issues, new research may help explain why. According to a recent study, the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus may be lingering in the skull and brain, triggering proteome changes and even cell death. The proteome is the entire range of proteins expressed by a cell or organism. So this implies that ranges of proteins produced by your body could be mutated by a previous exposure to COVID.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Helmholtz Center Munich in Neuherberg, Germany, found that the spike protein was present in the skull marrow, meninges, and parenchyma of both mouse models and human postmortem samples. When the spike protein was injected into the skull marrow niches of healthy mice, it triggered changes in the brain parenchyma (the functional tissue of the brain made of neurons and glial cells), suggesting that this may be a potential cause of neurological long COVID.
“This research highlights a direct effect on brain tissue,” said Saketh Kapoor, PhD, one of the study’s co-authors. “The dysregulated molecular maps may better explain clinical symptoms associated with neurological dysfunctions presented in long COVID.”
The spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus may be lingering in the skull and brain, triggering proteome changes and even cell death.
The study is just one of several that have detected SARS-CoV-2 proteins in brain tissues, and while most have failed to detect the actual virus in the brain, the lingering effects of the spike protein may be just as problematic. In fact, a separate study from UCSF found that the spike protein in astrocyte and neuronal exosomes correlated with neuropsychiatric manifestations in long COVID patients.
While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of the spike protein on the brain, these findings suggest that it may be a possible causal agent for long-term post COVID recovery and brain fog. If you’re struggling with lingering symptoms after COVID-19, it’s important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional who can help you develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. With continued research, we may be able to better understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 and develop more effective treatments for those who are struggling with ongoing symptoms.