A new study conducted by scientists at the University of Washington Health Sciences says the spike protein of COVID-19 can cross the blood-brain barrier.
This is just as a renowned Professor of Virology, Oyewale Tomori described SARS CoV-2 as the “Devil’s Virus” because of its invincible nature.
The summary of the research, which was posted recently on a peer-review site, Science Daily revealed that the researchers discovered that the COVID-19 spike protein, often depicted as the red arms of the virus, can cross the blood-brain barrier in mice.
The report strongly suggested that the spike proteins, often called the S1 protein, alone can cause brain fog and can equally dictate which cells the virus can enter.
According to the corresponding author, William A. Banks, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, the virus usually does the same thing as its binding protein.
Banks said binding proteins like S1 usually by themselves cause damage as they detach from the virus and cause inflammation.
“The S1 protein likely causes the brain to release cytokines and inflammatory products,” he said.
In science circles, the intense inflammation caused by the COVID-19 infection is called a cytokine storm. The immune system, upon seeing the virus and its proteins, overreacts in its attempt to kill the invading virus. The infected person is left with brain fog, fatigue and other cognitive issues.
Banks, who has done extensive work on HIV-1, gp120 and the blood-brain barrier saw the reaction with the HIV and wanted to determine if the same was happening with SARS CoV-2.
“It was like déjà vu,” he said.
Reacting to the report, a renowned Professor of virology and former Vice-Chancellor of the Redeemer’s University Nigeria, Oyewale Tomori described COVID-19 as the Devil’s Virus.
According to him, COVID-19 is a deceitful, evasive, virulent, invisible, lustful and smart virus that is also incomprehensible.
“It is currently still enjoying its invincible status. Nothing it does surprises me at all. Given that this study was conducted in mice, we will wait to see if it reacts the same way in humans.
“This also points to areas that need focusing on. COVID-19 associated mental disturbance or aberration in humans can be attributed to the effect of social issues such as lockdowns, movement restrictions and others. Maybe it is more of what the virus does,” he said.
A molecular virologist at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Dr. Joseph Shaibu, however, called for caution, insisting that the research was still under verification.
“I have gone through several studies on this. One thing I want us to keep in view is that there are several tests run on families of coronaviruses which have an implication on some parts of the brain in mice so far.
“It is because of their homology. Some of them are about 91 per cent homologous with SARS-COV-2,” he said.
According to Wiki, homology in biology is similarity due to shared ancestry between a pair of structures or genes in different populations of organisms.
“That’s why I see it as a mere assumption. The researchers still have to prove it through a form of trial and research. It is just like saying there is a tendency for it to have a brain invasion.
“I have read through most of the journals on it. None affirmed SARS-COV-2 has a direct effect on the brain. But there are suggestions. Anyone that reads through this study will get an assumption that it is still under verification,” he said.
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