The Emergence of a Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Disease and Their Neuroinvasive Propensity May Affect in COVID-19 Patients

J Med Virol. 2020 Jul;92(7):786-790. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25918. Epub 2020 Apr 29.


An outbreak of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection has recently emerged and rapidly spreading in humans causing a significant threat to international health and the economy. Rapid assessment and warning are crucial for an outbreak analysis in response to serious public health. SARS-CoV-2 shares highly homological sequences with SARS-CoVs causing highly lethal pneumonia with respiratory distress and clinical symptoms similar to those reported for SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV infections. Notably, some COVID-19 patients also expressed neurologic signs like nausea, headache, and vomiting. Several studies have reported that coronaviruses are not only causing respiratory illness but also invade the central nervous system through a synapse-connected route. SARS-CoV infections are reported in both patients and experimental animals' brains. Interestingly, some COVID-19 patients have shown the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus in their cerebrospinal fluid. Considering the similarities between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 in various aspects, it remains to clarify whether the potent invasion of SARS-CoV-2 may affect in COVID-19 patients. All these indicate that more detailed criteria are needed for the treatment and the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. In the absence of potential interventions for COVID-19, there is an urgent need for an alternative strategy to control the spread of this disease.

Keywords: COVID-19; MERS; SARS; central nervous system; coronavirus; neuroinvasive.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Central Nervous System / virology*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Headache / diagnosis
  • Headache / physiopathology
  • Headache / virology
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / genetics
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / pathogenicity
  • Nausea / diagnosis
  • Nausea / physiopathology
  • Nausea / virology
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Public Health / methods
  • SARS Virus / genetics
  • SARS Virus / pathogenicity
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Viral Vaccines / biosynthesis
  • Viral Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Vomiting / diagnosis
  • Vomiting / physiopathology
  • Vomiting / virology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Viral Vaccines

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 diagnostic testing
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2