In addition to respiratory symptoms, patients with COVID-19 disease may also present with neurological symptoms. To experimentally determine whether SARS-CoV-2 could replicate in and affect human brain cells, in this study iPSC-derived human brain organoids were infected. It was shown that SARS-CoV-2 can productively replicate and promote the death of neural cells, including cortical neurons. This phenotype was accompanied by loss of excitatory synapses in neurons. Notably, the authors found that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antiviral Sofosbuvir was able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication and rescued these neuronal alterations in infected brain organoids. These results provide a cellular basis supporting repurposed antivirals as a strategic treatment to alleviate neurocytological defects that may underlie COVID-19- related neurological symptoms.
SARS-CoV-2 infects human brain organoids causing cell death and loss of synapses that can be rescued by treatment with Sofosbuvir
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