CSIC’s covid-19 vaccine protects against infection and brain damage

The website SARS-Cov-2 virus mainly affects the respiratory system but it also causes neurological symptoms which have been little studied. In addition, it is not known whether covid vaccines protect the the central nervous system against the virus and prevent brain damage.

Now a team of researchers from Institute of Biomedicine of Seville (IBiS) and the Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB-CSIC) have just published a study showing that the SARS-CoV-2 infects and damages neurons in different regions of the brain, and that it such damage is “completely avoided”. by the covid vaccine developed by the CNB. Details of the research, conducted in a mouse model, were published Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience”.

Many patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 manifest significant neurological symptoms, as loss of smell (anosmia), headache, malaise, cognitive loss, epilepsy, ataxia and encephalopathy. In this article, the authors studied how the viral infection evolves in different regions of the brain.

“We carried out a pathological study and the molecular study of brain regions and cell types that have been infected by the virus, being remarkable how the virus primarily infects neurons in different areas,” says the co-director of the study. Javier Villadiego, of the IBiS.

Once the pattern of infection of the brain with the coronavirus has been established, the researchers evaluated the efficacy of the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by the CNB-CSIC.

To do this, they immunized mice with one or two doses of the MVA-CoV2-S vaccine based on the model of the virus. modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). expressing the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 (S).

“The results obtained are . spectacular, demonstrating that even a single dose of MVA-CoV2-S vaccine completely prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection in all brain regions studied and prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection in all brain regions studied. associated brain damage, even after reinfection with the virus, which demonstrates the high efficacy and immunogenicity of the vaccine which induces sterilizing immunity in the brain,” he says. Juan Garcia Arriaza, co-author of the study and researcher at the CNB.

These results reinforce previous data from immunogenicity there efficiency of the MVA-CoV2-S vaccine in various animal models.

“We had previously demonstrated in a series of publications that the MVA-CoV2-S vaccine that we developed at the CNB-CSIC induces in three animal models (mouse, hamster and macaque) a powerful immune response antibody antibodies directed against the S protein of the virus and neutralizing antibodies directed against the different variants of the virus, as well as the activation of T lymphocytes, which are essential markers of infection by the virus. infection control, grades Mariano Esteban, CNB-CSIC researcher.

The website results generated have important long-term implications for understanding SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“The data we have obtained on SARS-CoV-2 infection in the brain is . compatible with a neurological pathology observed in patients with covid-19″, emphasizes Jose Lopez Barneo, IBiS researcher.

Our work is the first study of a vaccine that has a 100% efficiency. against SARS-CoV-2 brain damage in mice sensitive, and the results obtained strongly suggest that the vaccine could prevent the persistent covid-19 observed in many people infected with SARS-CoV-2″, he notes. Juan Jose Toledo Aral, co-director of the study.

For the authors, the results of the study support conducting phase I clinical trials with the CNB vaccine or similar prototypes to assess its safety and immunogenicity.

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