JUST when you thought we were through the discovery stage of the pandemic, scientists have discovered another rare side effect of Covid.
It comes as a man died after developed a rare brain disease after catching the viral infection.
Most people with prion will die within a year of the symptoms startingCredit: Getty – Contributor
The 62-year-old was admitted to the Sinai Queens Hospital Center, in the US, after showing symptoms of “rapid” brain deterioration including difficulty walking and involuntary twitching.
Doctors initially thought he was suffering from dementia, but tests for the disease came back negative.
After discovering his symptoms emerged after a serious Covid infection, medics tested him for several other neurological conditions which have previously been associated with the disease.
Several studies have found strokes, seizures, memory problems and Parkinson’s are among the issues suffered by patients after catching the virus.
Further investigation revealed the man had prion disease, according to the paper in the American Journal of Case Reports, “highly likely” triggered by Covid infection.
The patient quickly deteriorate and died due to the rapid progression of his condition, the paper said.
The doctors wrote: “While such cases are highly likely to be due to Covid-19, there is no definite evidence beyond coincidental findings.
“Future studies might be required to establish this correlation.”
They did not detail why Covid could have caused prion disease in the unnamed man.
Prion diseases are a group of rare and fatal conditions caused by the prion protein which triggers brain damage that worsens rapidly over time.
Most people with prion will die within a year of the symptoms emerging, according to the NHS.
The most common form of prion that affects humans is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
In most cases, CJD develops “sporadically” by causing the brain to fold abnormally.
The killer condition can also be inherited if one parent has carries a mutation that causes prions to form in their brain during adulthood.
The inherited form of the disease only affects about one in every nine million people in the UK.
It’s sometimes spread to humans from animals through contaminated meat, from a cow that had bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as “mad cow” disease.
Mad Cow’s disease ravaged Britain’s cattle herds in the 1990s when millions of livestock were slaughtered.
It also spread to humans from infected beef, sparking widespread panic.
And a new outbreak emerged in Scotland in 2018 shows it has not been eradicated.
What are the symptoms of prion disease?
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is marked by changes in mental abilities.
Symptoms develop and get worse quickly, usually within several weeks to a few months.
Early symptoms include:
- loss of intellect and memory
- changes in personality
- loss of balance and co-ordination
- slurred speech
- vision problems and blindness
- abnormal jerking movements
- progressive loss of brain function and mobility