New Delhi: The spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, allowing the virus’s entry into human cells, could be responsible for memory loss as a part of post-Covid symptoms, according to a study in mice. Researchers from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and UniRio, Brazil, also identified a receptor, TLR4, as a potential therapeutic target for the symptoms. They describe the mechanism behind this cognitive and memory impairment as a part of post-COVID symptoms in their study published in the journal Cell Reports.
In the study, the researchers observed an increase and activation state of microglia, when they infused the spike protein into the brains of mice. Microglia is a type of brain cell involved in the innate immune response and plays an essential role in neuroinflammatory diseases. The study leaders, Claudia Figueiredo and Giselle Passos from UFRJ, explained that the activation of the TRL4 receptor by the viral spike protein induces neuroinflammation, leading to the elimination of synaptic proteins by microglia through a phagocytosis process.
Phagocytosis is a process in which phagocytes, or scavenger cells, engulf and digest microorganisms and cellular debris. This series of events triggered by the infusion of spike protein in the brain induced delayed memory impairment, which was observed by scientists in both mice and humans.
They also found that patients with polymorphisms in the gene related to TLR4 were found to have a higher risk of developing late memory impairments after SARS-CoV-2 infection. The researchers, thus, concluded that the viral spike protein had a central role in the development of cognitive changes after COVID-19. They further suggested TLR4 receptor as a promising target for the development of preventive and therapeutic strategies to avoid or treat memory loss caused by SARS-CoV-2.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.