“Covid is probably the most severe respiratory illness we have ever had, so it’s no surprise that we are seeing long-term effects from it,” said Dr. Avindra Nath, the clinical director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, who was not involved with the new research.
He explained that the symptoms in long COVID patients could be the result of the damage from the body’s inflammatory response to the coronavirus. Any viral infection activates inflammatory cells throughout the body, including in the brain. The inflammation is meant to attack the invading virus, but it also damages brain cells and neurons in the process. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, triggers a particularly strong inflammatory response.