The current Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, caused by a virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a global health emergency. Recent findings in case studies assert that the transmigration of SARS-CoV-2 to the nervous system implicates severe neurotropic pathologies, including the onset of the rare autoimmune disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is recognized as several disorders characterized by immune-mediated polyradiculoneuropathy, which is typically preceded by an infection or other immune stimulation. The symptoms of GBS initially present as acute symmetrical ascending paresthesia, weakness, and paralysis.

This meta-analysis serves to help understand the predisposing factors (such as gender, age, comorbidities) and the clinical features of COVID-19- induced GBS. Most patients affected were 40 years or older and comprised 78.2% of all the cases. Males comprised most of the cases (62.8%; n=76). The patient mortality was 9.1%, intensive care unit (ICU) admission was 46.6%, and the need for mechanical ventilation was 35.8%. It was found that concomitant GBS and COVID-19 patients most often presented with increased cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) protein levels (88%; n=106), hyporeflexia or areflexia (87.6%) (n=106), lower limb strength and sensation impairment (91.7%; n=111), upper limb strength and sensation impairment (83.5; n=101), and somatic sensation impairment (73.6%; n=89).

It is postulated that COVID-19 triggers the onset of GBS through a “cytokine release storm” (CRS) that occurs in the early stages of the disease. The same cytokines and chemokines involved in this CRS caused by COVID-19 contribute to the onset of GBS. Predisposing factors which influence this concomitance include male gender and older age. Most of the reported symptoms included abnormal limb functions (including paresthesia, weakness, and paralysis) and absent or weak deep tendon reflexes. The most common variant of GBS observed was AIDP, and the most significant laboratory finding among patients was high CSF protein levels.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Toklu, Hale


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine

Degree Program

Clinical Sciences



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Neurology Commons