COVID-19 could trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome: Study & nbsp | Credit & nbsp: Photo: & nbspiStock Images
London: COVID-19 infection can cause an autoimmune disorder, according to a study by Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). In the disorder, a person’s immune system attacks the nerves, causing muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis. The disease is triggered by an acute bacterial or viral infection and can last for weeks or several years. Since the start of the pandemic, doctors have reported more than 90 cases of GBS following a possible COVID-19 infection. However, it is unclear whether COVID-19 is another potential trigger for infections or whether the reported cases are coincident.
“Our study shows that COVID-19 can precede Guillain-Barre syndrome in rare cases,” said Bart C Jacobs, of Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
“But there is still a need to establish the existence of a true causal association or relationship,” he added. The findings are published in the journal Brain.
Using an international collection of GBS patients known as the International GBS Outcome Study (or IGOS), the researchers studied patients from January 30 to May 30, 2020. During this period, about 49 patients with syndrome were added. of Guillain-Barre from China, Denmark. , France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In this cohort study, 22% of patients with GBS included during the first four months of the pandemic had a previous COVID-19 infection. These patients were over 50 years of age and patients frequently (65%) presented with facial paralysis (64%) and presented with some form of GBS demyelination.
Demyelination is a condition that causes damage to the protective cover (myelin sheath) that surrounds the nerve fibers in the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. At hospital admission, 73% of GBS patients with COVID-19 infection had increased inflammatory markers. All of these patients met the diagnostic criteria for both GBS and COVID-19.
The researchers here pointed out, however, that they found no more patients diagnosed with GBS during the first four months of the pandemic compared to previous years. This suggests that while there is unlikely to be a strong association between a COVID-19 infection and GBS, a COVID-19 infection can sometimes lead patients to develop the disorder.
Meanwhile, GBS has also been linked to COVID vaccines. The European health regulator has listed it as a “very rare” side effect of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, known as Covishield in India. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID, developed with the same technology as AstraZeneca, was also recently included in the GBS.
A peer-reviewed study published in the medical journal Annals of Neurology in June described an unusual variant of Guillain-Barre syndrome characterized by severe facial weakness in seven cases at a regional medical center in Kerala, India. . The cases occurred two weeks after the first dose of vaccination.
“Six of the seven patients went on to have areflexic tetraplegia and needed mechanical ventilatory support,” said Boby Varkey Maramattom, of the Department of Neurology, Aster Medcity, Kochi, Kerala.
“The frequency of GBS was 1.4-10 times higher than expected in this period for a population of this magnitude. In addition, the frequency of bilateral facial weakness, which usually occurs in less than 20% of GBS cases, suggests a pattern associated with vaccination, “he added.