Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in a man with COVID-19: SARS-CoV-2-accelerated neurodegeneration?

Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Oct:89:601-603. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.07.007. Epub 2020 Jul 15.


We describe a man whose first manifestations of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease occurred in tandem with symptomatic onset of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Drawing from recent data on prion disease pathogenesis and immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, we hypothesize that the cascade of systemic inflammatory mediators in response to the virus accelerated the pathogenesis of our patient's prion disease. This hypothesis introduces the potential relationship between immune responses to the novel coronavirus and the hastening of preclinical or manifest neurodegenerative disorders. The global prevalence of both COVID-19 and neurodegenerative disorders adds urgency to the study of this potential relationship.

Keywords: COVID-19; Neurodegeneration; Prion disease; Psychoneuroimmunology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / complications*
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / immunology
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Electroencephalography
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18