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Multiple recent case reports have suggested a link between COVID-19 and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), an acute, disabling, immune-mediated disorder of the peripheral nervous system. It is currently unclear whether this simply represents a chance association.

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Associate Professor Simon Rinaldi has received funding from the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 Research Response Fund to investigate this further. He and colleagues will compare the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction and seropositivity in a UK cohort of GBS patients identified during the pandemic, and compare GBS incidence rates to similar periods in previous years.

This will establish how often COVID-19 is complicated by GBS. By characterising COVID-GBS associated antibody and cytokine profiles, and evaluating their pathological effects in a myelinating culture model, the team will learn more about the underlying neuroimmunology of this disorder. 

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