Following the identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2002 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012, we are now again facing a global highly pathogenic novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic. Although the lungs are one of the most critically affected organs, several other organs, including the brain may also get infected. Here, we have highlighted that SARS-CoV-2 might infect the central nervous system (CNS) through the olfactory bulb. From the olfactory bulb, SARS-CoV-2 may target the deeper parts of the brain including the thalamus and brainstem by trans-synaptic transfer described for many other viral diseases. Following this, the virus might infect the respiratory center of brain, which could be accountable for the respiratory breakdown of COVID-19 patients. Therefore, it is important to screen the COVID-19 patients for neurological symptoms as well as possibility of the collapse of the respiratory center in the brainstem should be investigated in depth.
Keywords: Brain; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; respiratory center.