So, in order.

There is such a special “wrong” kind of protein. It is called a prion and appears in the body for some hitherto unknown reason. From an animal or from another person, through a viral infection.

Another hypothesis is that one or more cells of the body at some point undergo a random mutation and begin to produce the defective protein themselves. Be that as it may, the exact mechanism of the occurrence of prion diseases is unknown.

The prion form of the protein is extremely stable, accumulates in the affected tissue, causing damage and, ultimately, death. A prion is able to multiply independently and change normal cells to defective ones – this abnormal protein, meeting with its healthy relative, converts it into the same abnormal form.

There are several prion diseases. This group includes Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome, fatal familial insomnia, Kuru disease – the so-called “laughing death”, progressive impairment of coordination of movements, accompanied by bouts of unreasonable laughter and ending with death. The reason for its spread was recognized as ritual cannibalism in wild tribes.

One of the most famous prion diseases is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a progressive degenerative lesion of the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and spinal cord. Cure from it is also impossible.

Even an autopsy after death is a huge risk for the pathologist, since there have been cases of iatrogenic infection of specialists from deceased patients.

Prion disease is on the list of the most dangerous diseases in the world, but before the beginning of the coronavirus era, it affected few. Although, for example, it could be contracted by eating beef from a cow infected with mad cow disease. Even the correct preparation of the meat of such mammals was not a guarantee of eliminating the risk of contamination.

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Under the influence of the virus, the cows themselves lost control over their body and behavior, could not go out for a walk or orient themselves in space.

Autopsies of infected cows and humans could show characteristic transformations causing these behavioral disorders. Tiny holes formed in the tissues of the brain, making the brain itself like a sponge with holes. Therefore, the second name for mad cow disease is bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Thank God, earlier all these diseases were not so common, for example, the same Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was diagnosed in one person in a million in the dock time.

And then came COVID-19, which, as you know, in some cases crosses the blood-brain barrier and affects the brain. From 30 to 80% of patients with coronavirus have neurological symptoms, and this is not only the well-known loss of smell, but also headache, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, as well as impaired consciousness, in some cases a significant impairment of memory and mental abilities was recorded.

The fact that coronaviruses are able to penetrate into brain tissue has been known for a long time: during the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003, the infected were diagnosed with mental disorders, including anxiety, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts associated with the penetration of the virus into the brain.

In a recent study of 3,740 patients with COVID-19, acute encephalopathy was a common symptom of the disease. And now, according to the observations of doctors, in some patients the clinic of the disease completely coincided with the symptoms of prion disease. Moreover, those abnormal prions were found in their bodies.

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So, American scientists described the case of a patient in whom the first manifestations of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease coincided with the onset of the coronavirus. “Based on recent data on the pathogenesis of prion diseases and immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, we hypothesize that the cascade of systemic inflammatory mediators in response to the virus accelerated the pathogenesis of prion disease,” the doctors said in their study. – Our hypothesis reveals a potential relationship between immune responses to the novel coronavirus and the acceleration of preclinical or overt neurodegenerative disorders. The global prevalence of both COVID-19 and neurodegenerative disorders makes it particularly important to study this potential relationship. “

What is primary here? Was the patient initially at risk and COVID-19 just accelerated the progression of the disease? Or did something contribute to this from the outside?

Of course, they began to figure out what exactly could serve as a detonator. And it turned out that the fault is most likely the very S-protein, the spike of the coronavirus. In any of its state, it is not at all so harmless, moreover, it is the most toxic “detail” of the coronavirus.

The S-protein was the infectious agent that most likely triggered the production of prions.

The trouble is that, just as abnormal prions are not perceived by enemies by the body and therefore do what they want for a long time, our immune system also does not at first perceive the spike protein as something frankly foreign, which is why it manages to penetrate a human cell so easily.

The spike protein causes the production of antibodies specific to it, like any foreign protein. But the point is that when it enters the human body in any way, it specifically interacts with the ACE2 receptor and can continue to cause disruptions in cell activity even after the person recovers.

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And when the immune system starts screaming “SOS!”, The job is done, the infected cells have already begun to reproduce their own kind.

It looks like the worst horror story filmed in Hollywood, films about a zombie apocalypse, only this time in reality.

As if zombies bite healthy people, and they become like them, the same zombies. It’s the same with prions.

The bad thing is that this happens quite slowly, and when it turns out, after five years, that a person has prion disease, he can no longer be helped.

What will happen in the case of the development of a prion disease as a result of coronavirus – whether the timing of the incubation period will change, whether the course of the disease will worsen, no one knows yet. But, judging by the fact that such cases are already observed all over the world, it is possible that in the near future humanity should massively prepare for a pandemic of already prion disease and seek salvation from it.

By the way, one of the first signs of brain damage by this infectious agent is progressive dementia, aggression, panic attacks, behavioral disorders … I would like to be mistaken, but judging by what is happening in society today, it seems that we are all already, figuratively speaking , in the incubation period.

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