Infection with the virus that causes coronavirus may be associated with risk of developing Guillai Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which a person’s immune system attacks the nerves, causing muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis, according to a study published today.
Besides the well known severe respiratory signs, and the risk of long-term complications in COVID-19, researchers and public health officials have also reported neurological complications linked with the disease.
Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder which can last for weeks or several years, is relatively rare but can be severe. The condition is triggered by an acute bacterial or viral infection.
Bart C Jacobs from the University Medical Center Rotterdam in The Netherland said, “Our study shows that COVID-19 may precede Guillain-Barre syndrome in rare cases. Jacobs said , one of the paper’s authors ,”But the existence of a true association or causal relation still needs to be established,”.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, doctors have reported over 90 Guillain-Barre diagnoses following a possible COVID-19 infection.COVID-19 is another potential infectious trigger or whether the reported cases are coincidental is unclear, the researchers said.
Some 49 Guillain-Barre syndrome patients were added to the study during this period from China, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.
Using an international collection of Guillain-Barre syndrome patients known as the International GBS Outcome Study , researchers studied patients from January 30 until May 30, 2020.
The researchers said, In this study, published in the journal Brain, 22 % of the Guillain-Barre syndrome patients included during the first four months of the pandemic had a preceding COVID-19 infection, These patients were all over 50 years of age and patients frequently experienced facial palsy and had a demyelination form of GBS, they said.
This suggests that while a strong association between a COVID-19 infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome is not likely, a COVID-19 infection may sometimes lead patients to develop the condition, they added.