COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s disease: how one crisis worsens the other

Xiaohuan Xia, Yi Wang, Jialin Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has emerged as a key comorbidity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). The morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 are elevated in AD due to multiple pathological changes in AD patients such as the excessive expression of viral receptor angiotensin converting enzyme 2 and pro-inflammatory molecules, various AD complications including diabetes, lifestyle alterations in AD, and drug-drug interactions. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has also been reported to cause various neurologic symptoms including cognitive impairment that may ultimately result in AD, probably through the invasion of SARS-CoV-2 into the central nervous system, COVID-19-induced inflammation, long-term hospitalization and delirium, and post-COVID-19 syndrome. In addition, the COVID-19 crisis also worsens behavioral symptoms in uninfected AD patients and poses new challenges for AD prevention. In this review, we first introduce the symptoms and pathogenesis of COVID-19 and AD. Next, we provide a comprehensive discussion on the aggravating effects of AD on COVID-19 and the underlying mechanisms from molecular to social levels. We also highlight the influence of COVID-19 on cognitive function, and propose possible routes of viral invasion into the brain and potential mechanisms underlying the COVID-19-induced cognitive impairment. Last, we summarize the negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on uninfected AD patients and dementia prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
JournalTranslational Neurodegeneration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Angiotensin converting enzyme 2
  • COVID-19
  • Central nervous system
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Inflammation
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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