There is emerging evidence for multifarious neurological manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but little is known regarding whether they reflect structural damage to the nervous system. Serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL) is a specific biomarker of neuronal injury. We measured sNfL concentrations of 29 critically ill COVID-19 patients, 10 critically ill non-COVID-19 patients, and 259 healthy controls. After adjusting for neurological comorbidities and age, sNfL concentrations were higher in patients with COVID-19 versus both comparator groups. Higher sNfL levels were associated with unfavorable short-term outcome, indicating that neuronal injury is common and pronounced in critically ill patients. ANN NEUROL 2021;89:610-616.
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