APA House Call: COVID-19 Burden on Mental Health


Investigators are still looking into the immediate and longterm effects of the virus on the mind.

The 2020 American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting was cancelled this year, with plans made to convert the world-leading psychiatry conference into a two-part virtual session and educational platform for attendees.

In lieu of regular on-site coverage, HCPLive® will be running a series of interviews, insights, and reporting on topics that frequently headline the APA meeting—featuring familiar experts.

What is currently understood and what is the absolute fact of effect the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has on patients is far apart. And while short- and long-term understanding of its respiratory and immunologic effects are coming to light, the virus’ psychiatric and neurologic burden is still just a guess.

In an interview with HCPLive from Germany, Carsten Korth, MD, a professor of molecular and neuropathology with the University of Dusseldorf, shared the current status of his area during COVID-19 lockdowns. Korth also discussed the beginning of virus-related research being conducted by his university colleagues into its potential harm on mental health.

“The university is maintaining research on possible consequences to neurons and neuronal cells—could the virus affect the brain and drive risk of chronic brain diseases?” Korth explained. “Every scientific aspect and everyday life aspect needs to weighed, and this can change every week.”

Korth reiterated that the research itself is too early to distinguish and disseminate—but it’s been established from previous epidemics and research of the flu that the virus has neurotropic potential, and risk to drive proteostasis.

“This is a certainly important direction of research,” he said.

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