COVID-19 spike proteins may cause neurological issues

Some COVID-19 patients have long-term neurological issues in addition to respiratory problems.  New research published in Nature Neuroscience shows that COVID-19 spike protein, the red arm of the virus, can cross the blood-brain barrier. Dr. William Banks, professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, says this strongly suggests the virus enters the brain, as well.

He explains how the viral proteins that detach from the virus can cause issues such as brain fog.

"It's another powerful piece of evidence," he says of COVID-19 effects.  "Just the free protein getting in by itself is a significant finding.  The viral proteins often detach themselves from the virus and circulate free, and many of the things that we blame on the virus are also due to or maybe even more so due to those free proteins circulating around."

For more information, see our related news release.

UW Medicine