As the U.S. continues to battle an exponentially growing number of coronavirus cases, scientists out of London warned of the potential for a wave of “coronavirus-related brain damage” causing severe medical issues for survivors of the virus, according to a report from Reuters.
Researchers from University College London (UCL) shared a study in which they detailed the cases of 43 patients with coronavirus who suffered from some form of brain damage resulting in “temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects.”
“We’re seeing things in the way COVID-19 affects the brain that we haven’t seen before with other viruses,” Michael Zandi said, per the Guardian. Zandi is a researcher at UCL’s Institute of Neurology and co-led the study.
According to the Guardian, of the patients included in the study, a reported dozen experienced inflammation of the central nervous system. Ten patients experienced delirium or psychosis, while eight suffered from strokes. Another eight patients experienced “peripheral nerve problems,” which were reportedly diagnosed mostly as Guillain-Barré syndrome. The syndrome is caused by an immune reaction that attacks the nerves and causes paralysis, and can be fatal.
“Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause,” said Ross Paterson, who also co-led the study. “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes.”
This study comes as Donald Trump and his administration continue to downplay the severity of the virus. On Wednesday morning via Twitter, Trump threatened to cut funding to public schools if they do not reopen ahead of the November election.