COVID-19 Neurological Georgia Cohort Study

Project: Research project

Project Details


The SARS-CoV-2 virus, like other coronaviruses, is neurotropic. A clue to early invasion and involvement of the nervous system in COVID-19 patients are the early symptoms of anosmia and hypogeusia. These may be seen in over 60% of COVID-19 positive patients. There is evidence from the humanized ACE2 transgenic mouse that the SARS-CoV-1 virus rapidly invades the olfactory bulb and spreads transneuronally throughout the olfactory pathways Our overall goal is to determine if there are long term neurological sequelae to SARS-CoV-2 viral infection in both asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 positive patients and to understand the contributing health and genetic factors. To achieve this goal, we will establish a longitudinal prospective cohort of COVID-19 positive patients and follow them long-term for neurological sequelae. COVID-19 preferentially affects African Americans (AA) and we will be enrolling in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) of Georgia where we expect about half of our patients to be AA. Our hypothesis is that long term neurological sequela will occur over time in COVID-19 positive patients and there will be clinical, racial and genetic predictors of occurrence and severity of neurological sequelae. To test this hypothesis, we will recruit 500 COVID-19 positive patients at baseline and conduct follow-up annually. The specific aims are: Aim 1: Determine if COVID-19 positive patients have an increased risk to develop neurological complications and cognitive impairment over time and if there is disparity in occurrence and severity of complications in AA. Aim 2: Determine the relative contributions of pre-existing comorbidities, the initial clinical presentation (e.g., anosmia) and genetic contributions to the development and severity of neurological complications. The technical goal of Year 1 is to recruit 500 COVID-19 positive patients for the baseline testing and conduct year 1 follow-up. The specific aims for Year 1: Aim 1. Determine the 1-year incidence rates of persistent anosmia, hypogeusia and neuropsychiatric disorders (i.e. cognition, depression and anxiety) and whether there are differences between gender, ethnicity and age groups; Aim 2. Identify the potential contributing factors (i.e. severity of the COVID-19, pre-existing health conditions, the initial clinical presentation of neurological symptoms and unhealthy lifestyles including smoking and use of alcohol and illegal drugs) to the 1-year incidence of persistent anosmia, hypogeusia and neuropsychiatric disorders.
StatusNot started


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