A Spanish study does not find that SARS-CoV-2 accesses the central nervous system


Updated:01/03/2021 18:54h


A Spanish study carried out among 2,750 patients hospitalized in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic concludes that less than 3% of the patients analyzed had neurological problems.

Additionally, research published in «European Journal of Neurology» ensures that, at least in this series of patients, no evidence of direct invasion of the Central Nervous System by SARS-Cov-2, something that has raised doubts during the pandemic.

“In none of the cases have we seen PCR positive for coronavirus in the cerebrospinal fluid of our patients,” he says. Francisco Grandas, Neurology Service of the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid. This, he says, is consistent with the small number of cases that have been detected in the millions of infected people. “As far as we know it does not cause cases of meningitis or encephalitis.”

The researchers carried out a prospective study to find out the real scope of the neurological affectations of these patients derived from the disease. That is, it explains Francisco Grandas, “Among admitted patients who required evaluation and neurological care, care that was performed in situ, so it is a study based on the direct analysis of complications and not retrospectively.”

As far as we know, it does not cause cases of meningitis or encephalitis.

This expert requires the term complications, and not neurological symptoms. “For example, a myalgia or headache is a nonspecific symptom, but not a complication.”

His work has only found that 2.6% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients presented neurological complications, among which are neuromuscular, cerebrovascular or stroke complications, acute encephalopathy, epileptic seizures and finally a varied group that included hiccups, myoclonic tremor, Horner syndrome and transverse myelitis. “They are not symptoms, they are serious processes.”

The study found 6 patients with persistent hiccups. “We saw that in these patients the hiccups persisted for more than two days in a row and they required treatment,” he says. Sofia Portela.

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