Effects of COVID-19 on the Nervous System

Cell. 2020 Oct 1;183(1):16-27.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.028. Epub 2020 Aug 19.


Neurological complications have emerged as a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Beside respiratory insufficiency, many hospitalized patients exhibit neurological manifestations ranging from headache and loss of smell, to confusion and disabling strokes. COVID-19 is also anticipated to take a toll on the nervous system in the long term. Here, we will provide a critical appraisal of the potential for neurotropism and mechanisms of neuropathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 as they relate to the acute and chronic neurological consequences of the infection. Finally, we will examine potential avenues for future research and therapeutic development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Diseases / epidemiology
  • Brain Diseases / etiology*
  • COVID-19
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / adverse effects
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Humans
  • Olfaction Disorders / epidemiology
  • Olfaction Disorders / etiology*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / etiology*