Assessment of brain complications following COVID-19 infection by measuring markers of brain inflammation and immune activation in blood (COVID-CNS)
Professor Benedict Michael
Samples and data
Institution or company
University of Liverpool
COVID, Neurological Disorders, Dementias and Neurodegeneration
Patients with COVID-19 frequently suffer from brain problems during COVID-19 infection and can be left with symptoms of brain injury. Similar problems have been seen in previous pandemics, including Spanish influenza over 100 years ago, but how and why this occurs is poorly understood.
It is crucial to understand how these problems occur and develop strategies to prevent and treat them. The questions that will be asked include: in whom does COVID-19 cause injury? Does it do this by invading the brain? Or by triggering excessive immune responses or interfering with the blood supply to nervous tissue?
These questions will be answered through in depth clinical, laboratory, and imaging studies of 480 patients with reported complaints due to COVID-19, in comparison to 320 control patients (hospitalised during the pandemic with COVID-19 or without COVID-19). Without this understanding, we cannot determine whether anti-viral medication, or treatments that modulate the immune system or that improve blood supply will help.
The COVID-19 Clinical Neuroscience Study (COVID-CNS) is a jointly led study by researchers at the University of Liverpool and King's College London. The aim is to ultimately understand the reasons why some COVID-19 patients develop neurological or neuropsychiatric symptoms whilst others do not.
Potential benefit to patients
COVID-19 patients frequently suffer brain problems during the infection and can be left with symptoms of brain injury. Similar problems have been seen in previous pandemics, including Spanish influenza over 100 years ago, but how and why this occurs is poorly understood.
The COVID-CNS study recruited just over 800 participants—including COVID positive controls and COVID positive cases of neurological complications. This subset of samples are acute timepoint controls and cases that we will use to compare blood markers, including markers of brain injury and immune activation. By studying their blood samples, we aim to discover which pathways are involved in neurological complications in order to identify potential therapeutic strategies. We will apply this understanding through our World Health Organisation-commissioned Task Force (co-Chair Professor Michael) to develop new clinical care guidelines, identify patients for targeted clinical trials, and ultimately to improve patient outcomes.