Assessment of brain complications following COVID-19 infection by measuring markers of brain inflammation and immune activation in blood

Study code
NBR224 - Brain complications following COVID-19 infection

Lead researcher
Prof. Benedict Michael

Study type
Samples and data

Institution or company
University of Liverpool (Department of Neurological Sciences)

Researcher type

Speciality area
COVID, Neurological Disorders

Recruitment Site
N/A (samples only)


Project summary:

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). Biomarkers including immune mediators and brain injury markers will be measured in the serum and plasma. 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. The COVID-CNS study recruited more than 800 participants before ending in October 2022. We would like to measure brain injury and immune activation in the subset of controls and cases requested from the NIHR BioResource to aid analysis.

Ethical approval reference: 22/EE/0230