Caroline Huart, MD, PhD - Bernard Hanseeuw, MD, PhD - Valérie Hox, MD, PhD - Pascal Kienlen-Campard, PhD- Vincent Van Pesch, MD, PhD
UCLouvain and Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc - FNRS
" Anosmia has been reported to be a major symptom of COVID-19. Since high viral loads are found in the nasal cavity of patients and since single-cell analyses found that olfactory sustentacular and stem cells highly express ACE2 and TMPRSS2, it is suspected that cells of the olfactory neuroepithelium are a preferred target of the virus. Some COVID-19 patients present with neurological symptoms. Interestingly, it has been reported that the former SARS-CoV, can ascend intracranially, possibly via the olfactory nerves. Since olfactory receptor neurons form a direct connection between the nasal cavity and the brain, we hypothesize that these cells act as a gateway towards the brain in some patients. The main aims of the projects are (1) to investigate the pathophysiology of COVID-related olfactory dysfunction and (2) to investigate whether olfactory receptor neurons could be the entry site of SARS-CoV2 to the brain. "