Viruses which can infect humans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and differ in their ability to invade and affect hosts.
TIPULA IRIDESCENT VIRUS
TOBACCO MOSAIC VIRUS
in more deeply to ask how this stroke may happen, as well as the possible mechanisms and risk factors involved.” But both she and other researchers caution that it will take time to fully understand the nature of Covid-19 and how it affects the central nervous system. While that may sound daunting in the midst of the current pandemic, the good news is such research findings will likely better prepare both scientists and clinicians for the next. “When you think about the different viruses that have emerged over the last century—AIDS, H1N1, Ebola, West Nile, Zika, just to name a few—the one predictable thing seems to be that new viruses are going to continue to emerge as human pathogens,” says Tyler. “It’s likely that many of them will have an impact on the human nervous system in different ways. The more we can understand the pathogenesis of these viruses, even though they are quite different, the more we can add to our base of knowledge so we can better understand and manage the next virus that comes along, whatever it may be.” l
“One of the biggest challenges is finding an appropriate model—not all viruses affect mice or rats the same way they do humans,” says NINDS scientist McGavern. “A good model system allows us the ability to work out the molecular mechanisms and get a better idea of what the virus is doing, how it’s getting into the body, what cells it infects, and how it’s disrupting those cells.” Such studies can help illuminate how Covid-19 does neurological damage now—and, potentially, in the future. Human studies will be vital in developing treatments for the novel coronavirus. Pittsburgh’s Chou and colleagues have already started a multi-center international consortium to look at the links between Covid-19 and stroke. “The initial phase 1 study is already up and running,” she says. “Its focus is really trying to describe the phenomenon that neurocritical care professionals are seeing. How many people with Covid-19 are having this problem? What does the problem look like, exactly? Once we know that, we can dive
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