Recently, studies have been published suggesting a link between the SARS-CoV-2 virus, brain inflammation and neurological dysfunction. One study involving 60 patients who recovered from COVID-19, for example, found that 55 percent of them displayed “structural changes” in the brain that manifested with loss of memory and smell for three months. The study, published in The Lancet on Aug. 3, 2020, found evidence that the SARS-CoV virus had invaded the olfactory epithelium—tissue within the human nasal cavity that play a role in the ability to smell.
The encyclopedia Britannica describes the olfactory epithelium as containing “olfactory receptor cells, which have specialized cilia extensions.” It explains that the “cilia trap odor molecules as they pass across the epithelial surface” and that [i]nformation about the molecules is then transmitted from the receptors to the olfactory bulb in the brain.”3
Studies Link SARS-CoV-2 to Changes in Brain
According to the results of The Lancet study, “significant enlarged volumes [of the SARS-CoV-2 virus] were observed in the bilateral olfactory cortices, hippocampi, insulas, left Heschl’s gyrus, left Rolandic operculum and right cingulate gyrus”—”structures” that make up the “central olfactory system.” However, the study was unable to ascertain how the virus managed to infect the olfactory epithelium.1 The study noted:
Several possible invasion routes of SARS-CoV-2 were raised including hematogenous, lymphatic and neuro retrograde routes, etc., yet the exact route was unknown.1