In an unusual complication, Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) has been observed in several patients infected with Covid-19. In India, since August, such instances have been recorded. These cases and their symptoms are now being mapped by a group of neurologists in Mumbai. There have been 24 cases added to the study so far.

What is Guillain Barre Syndrome?

It is an autoimmune disease that is very rare. The immune system mistakenly begins to destroy the peripheral nervous system in an effort to kill the coronavirus. A network of nerves leading from the brain and spinal cord to various parts of the body is the peripheral nervous system. Attacking them will impact the functions of the limbs.

coronavirus positive kids
 (Pic for representation only)Courtesy: Reuters


A tingling or burning feeling in the skin, accompanied by muscle fatigue, discomfort, and numbness are the first signs of the syndrome. The symptoms can appear in the feet and hands first. An individual then begins to experience reflex loss and paralysis, which can be acute, but can last for 6-12 months or longer. It is still difficult to determine the essence of GBS permanency in such cases when Covid-19 is a year old.

Bacteria or viral infections cause GBS. GBS signs have been seen in patients with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the past, as have those infected with Zika, HIV, Herpes virus, and Campylobacter jejuni.

Coronavirus patient in hospital
Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment take care of a patient suffering from the coronavirus at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, India, May 28, 2020.Courtesy: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui


Recovery in patients affecting with GBS is assisted by intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and occasionally plasma therapy. Some patients can experience serious problems and need treatment with intensive care or ventilator help. Studies also have shown that patients require hospitalization for a few weeks.

Study in India

As per a report in the Indian Express, in Mumbai, a multi-doctor analysis and registry is underway and is expected to be completed in three weeks. The research is headed by lead investigator Dr. Megha Dhamne, a neurologist at Dr. LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, is collecting and mapping case studies of Covid-19 patients with GBS. Several Mumbai neurologists are part of it.