The National Institute of Mental Health (Division of AIDS Research), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute on Aging are organizing a virtual meeting entitled “Neurologic and Psychiatric Effects of SARS-CoV-2 Infection” to be held on July 14-15, 2021. There is emerging data that in as high as 30% of COVID-19 patients neurologic and psychiatric symptoms are observed. COVID-19 patients experience ischemic strokes, cerebral hemorrhages, encephalitis, prolonged unconsciousness and altered mental states (psychosis, delirium). Anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) symptoms are also seen in these patients. A majority of patients also develop loss of smell and taste, myalgias and fatigue or malaise.
Many patients also experience Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC). These include prolonged symptoms of fatigue, impairment of memory, concentration disorder, headache, pain, insomnia, anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Pathologically there is controversy about detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the brain and current thinking is that the virus does not infect the brain. However, there is strong evidence for microvascular disease, inflammation and immune infiltration in the brain.
This meeting will examine emerging data related to neurologic and psychiatric complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection and possible interactions with other CNS infections such as HIV. A panel will be convened to discuss future research gaps and priorities particularly with regard to long term neurologic and psychiatric complications in relation to post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC).