Type I interferon signaling in SARS-CoV-2 associated neurocognitive disorder (SAND): Mapping host-virus interactions to an etiopathogenesis

George D. Vavougios, Gabriel A.de Erausquin, Heather M. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Epidemiological, clinical, and radiological studies have provided insights into the phenomenology and biological basis of cognitive impairment in COVID-19 survivors. Furthermore, its association with biomarkers associated with neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration supports the notion that it is a distinct aspect of LongCOVID syndrome with specific underlying biology. Accounting for the latter, translational studies on SARS-CoV-2's interactions with its hosts have provided evidence on type I interferon dysregulation, which is seen in neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. To date, studies attempting to describe this overlap have only described common mechanisms. In this manuscript, we attempt to propose a mechanistic model based on the host-virus interaction hypothesis. We discuss the molecular basis for a SARS-CoV-2-associated neurocognitive disorder (SAND) focusing on specific genes and pathways with potential mechanistic implications, several of which have been predicted by Vavougios and their research group. Furthermore, our hypothesis links translational evidence on interferon-responsive gene perturbations introduced by SARS-CoV-2 and known dysregulated pathways in dementia. Discussion emphasizes the crosstalk between central and peripheral immunity via danger-associated molecular patterns in inducing SAND's emergence in the absence of neuroinfection. Finally, we outline approaches to identifying targets that are both testable and druggable, and could serve in the design of future clinical and translational studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1063298
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - Dec 7 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • SARS-CoV-2
  • cognitive impairment
  • dementia
  • host-virus interaction
  • tauopathy
  • type I interferon signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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