- SARS-CoV-2, similarly to SARS-CoV-1 , uses the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to enter cells. ACE 2 receptors are present in glial cells and neurons.
- The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 that binds the virion to the cell membrane using host ACE2 receptors has a higher affinity than SARS-CoV 1 spike protein.
- SARS-CoV-2 could disseminate through the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone or in the systemic circulation and cause cerebral involvement such as reported with some patients affected by SARS-CoV-1.
- The dysregulation of homeostasis in the pulmonary, renal, cardiac and circulatory system is the major fatal cause in COVID-19 patients at the moment but a CNS involvement with cerebral edema alone could lead to death and should be warranted.
This data comes from a review of previous studies such as one retrospective case on neurological manifestations among patients with SARS-CoV-2, a case-control study on SARS-CoV-1 on mice, a study on the structure of SARS-CoV-2 spike and studies on other viruses and their neurotropism.
Source: Mannan Baig A., Khaleeq A., Ali U. and Syeda H. (March 13, 2020) Evidence of the COVID-19 Virus Targeting the CNS: Tissue Distribution, Host−Virus Interaction, and Proposed Neurotropic Mechanisms. ACS Chemical Neuroscience 10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00122