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COVID-19 and World Neurology

Message from Prof. William Carroll, WFN President

At this time of what we all hope is the peaking of the Covid19 crisis, I write to assure you that the WFN remains functioning normally with none of the Trustees, Staff or Executive physically affected. We trust that this continues and ask that if any member society is affected adversely in any way that they think we should be aware of, or that we might be able to assist, then please contact the London Office.

For those of you who have been following our Facebook or Twitter feeds or the information on the WFN website or in the WFN newsletter, World Neurology, you will have noticed that the WFN had planned this year to ramp up its visibility, the promotion of brain health in parallel with this year’s World Brain Day, to commence the promotion of the 2021 World Congress of Neurology and pursue and address the inequities of access to quality neurological care. Most of these activities were to combine both physical attendance at major international meetings and new press campaigns. With the impact of Covid19 and the uncertainty of how long this will last, we will be transferring more emphasis of these efforts to the media. The cancellation of the 2020 American Academy of Neurology, the world’s largest neurological meeting, late last week illustrates the likely direction for other major neurological meetings.

It is paramount that neurological disorders and especially non-communicable neurological disorders do not become subsumed by the Covid19 crisis and the response to it. In addition to providing our full support for the battle with Covid19 by governments, their health services, institutions and hospitals, we also owe our patients with neurological disorders our reassurance and our vigilance. Most importantly, drug supply chains, access to medicines and preemptive information to those receiving neuro-immunological and other treatments, as to where to find the most appropriate and up-to-date information will be invaluable to patients in jurisdictions where such services are already fragile. Most of the major neurological disease organisations and national and regional neurological organisations have done these preparations or are making them so it may just be a matter of ensuring the information pertinent to certain member societies is available. Fortunately, Covid19 appears not to be neurotropic and although there have been some earlier discussion on this in the literature there has been no firm evidence to change this view.

In closing, I wish all member societies, their individual members and their families and above all our patients, safe passage through this pandemic.


Professor William M Carroll

President World Federation of Neurology



2nd Letter to WFN member societies from the President [16 April 2020]       

Further to my previous letter regarding the Covid-19 pandemic I write to you again for two main reasons.

First, to again reassure you that that the London office of the WFN remains viable, active and healthy despite the restrictions applied to the residents of London. I also send the best wishes of the trustees and myself to you, your members and all your families. It is a very trying time for all, and for those in “hot spots”, a dangerous time. As you would all know, at present, there is no better protection than the current restrictions on movement, personal interaction and proximity and frequent vigorous hand hygiene.

Second, while all of us are carefully watching the global and national statistics on infection rates and mortality rates as well as the effects on our families and our practice of neurology it is difficult for any one member society to access country wide neurology-related information from around the world. All of us would like to know how others in the WFN are faring. It has been proposed that we begin a new section under Covid-19 on the WFN website titled “WFN Member Society C-19 Bulletin Board” where member societies can post notices related to the effects of Covid-19 in their country or region. Please use the following email address and head the post “For WFN member Bulletin Board”. Note, these are not primarily for the WFN Office but for all WFN members. Consequently they will be accessible by all.

Matters which would be of considerable interest to members of the WFN would relate to two broad areas;

  • Rates of infection, testing, hospitalisation, mortality and recovery.
    Current countrywide measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and whether they are proving effective.
  • Effects of the pandemic on neurological care in general (outpatient services, medication access, infusion services, physiotherapy etc) and for those possibly more vulnerable patient groups such as Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease, Myasthenia Gravis, Multiple Sclerosis/NMOSD and immune mediated neuropathies etc.

There is obviously a third and less tangible reason for doing this which relates to a sense of sharing the burden and the collaborative effort in mitigating the effects of the pandemic, i.e. a shared purpose.

Professor William Carroll

President, World Federation of Neurology


WFN Member Society C-19 Bulletin Board


ANZAN extends its sympathies to our colleagues around the world.  At this point in time Australia and New Zealand are fortunate to have suffered minimal impact due to Covid-19.

We send best wishes to all our colleagues, their families and patients,

Pam McCombe


Members' Bulletin


COVID-19 Resources


WFN COVID-19 reference review committee

  • Journal of the Neurological Sciences Editor-in-Chief: John D. England
  • eNeurologicalSci (eNS) standing Editor-in-Chief: Walter Struhal
  • World Neurology Editor-in-Chief:  Steven L. Lewis


Commentaries and Editorials on Neurologic Involvement with Covid-19

  • Long COVID: understanding the neurological effects The Lancet Neurology, Editorial Vol 20(4):247, Published April 2021; DOI: ⧉
  • Neurological infections in 2020: COVID-19 takes centre stage. Fredrich S, Greenberg BM, Hatanpaa KJ. Lancet Neurol 2021 Jan;20(1):17-18; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30451-8 ⧉ PMID: 33340476 ⧉
  • EAN consensus statement for management of patients with neurological diseases during the COVID‐19 pandemic. T. J. von Oertzen et al. European Journal of Neurology, First published: 15 October 2020; DOI: 10.1111/ene.14521 ⧉
  • SARS-CoV-2 and the risk of Parkinson’s disease: facts and fantasy. Marcelo Merello, Kailash P Bhatia, Jose A Obeso, Lancet Neurol 2020, Published Online November 27, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30442-7 ⧉
  • How COVID-19 can damage the brainMichael MarshallNature 585, 342-343 (2020); DOI: 10.1038/d41586-020-02599-5. ⧉
  • SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Evolving Reality, Global Response, Knowledge Gaps, and Opportunities.  APA Osuchowski, Marcin F., Aletti, Federico, Cavaillon, Jean-Marc, Flohé, Stefanie B., Giamarellos-Bourboulis, Evangelos J., Huber-Lang, Markus, Relja, Borna, ; Skirecki, Tomasz, Szabó, Andrea, Maegele, Marc, SHOCK: June 10, 2020 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print;  DOI: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000001565 ⧉
  • The neurological impact of COVID-19. Elena Becker-Barroso. The Lancet Neurology Published: June, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30142-3 ⧉
  • The neurology of COVID-19 revisited: A proposal from the Environmental Neurology Specialty Group of the World Federation of Neurology to implement international neurological registries. Román GC, Spencer PS, Reis J, et al. Published online ahead of print, 2020 May 7,  J Neurol Sci. 2020;116884; DOI: 10.1016/j.jns.2020.116884 ⧉
  • Looking ahead: The risk of neurologic complications due to COVID-19. Pérez CA. Neurol Clin Pract Apr 2020, 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000836; DOI: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000836  ⧉


Selected References Related to COVID-19 and Neurology

While we have restricted the selection of articles to reputable peer-reviewed journals we do/can not guarantee the validity of the data nor the conclusions.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Pathologic Antibodies to Platelet Factor 4 after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccination. Marie Scully, M.D., et al. New England Journal of Medicine. Published online April 16, 2021. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2105385 ⧉
  • Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia after ChAdOx1 nCov-19 Vaccination. Andreas Greinacher, M.D., Thomas Thiele, M.D., Theodore E. Warkentin, M.D., Karin Weisser, Ph.D., Paul A. Kyrle, M.D., and Sabine Eichinger, M.D. N Engl J Med. 2021 Apr 9. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2104840 ⧉
  • 6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236 379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records Maxime Taquet, PhD Prof John R Geddes, MD Prof Masud Husain, FRCP Sierra Luciano, BA Prof Paul J Harrison, FRCPsych; Open Access; Published:April 06, 2021 ;DOI: ⧉
  • Brain tumors and COVID-19: the patient and caregiver experience. Mathew R Voisin, Kathy Oliver, Stuart Farrimond, Tess Chee, Jean Arzbaecher, Carol Kruchko, Mary Ellen Maher, Chris Tse, Rosemary Cashman, Maureen Daniels, Christine Mungoshi, Sharon Lamb, Anita Granero, Mary Lovely, Jenifer Baker, Sally Payne, Gelareh Zadeh, Brain tumors and COVID-19: the patient and caregiver experience, Neuro-Oncology Advances, Volume 2, Issue 1, January-December 2020, vdaa104; DOI: 10.1093/noajnl/vdaa104 ⧉
  • Anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the CSF, blood-brain barrier dysfunction, and neurological outcome. Harry Alexopoulos, PhD, Eleni Magira, MD, Kleopatra Bitzogli, MSc, Nikolitsa Kafasi, MD, Panayiotis Vlachoyiannopoulos, MD, Athanasios Tzioufas, MD, Anastasia Kotanidou, MD, and Marinos C. Dalakas, MD, FAAN. Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2020;7:e893. DOI:10.1212/NXI.0000000000000893  ⧉
  • New onset neurologic events in people with COVID-19 in 3 regions in China. Weixi Xiong, Jie Mu, Jian Guo, Lu Lu, Dan Liu, Jianfei Luo, Nian Li, Jing Liu, Dan Yang, Hui Gao, Yingying Zhang, Mintao Lin, Sisi Shen, Hesheng Zhang, Lei Chen, Gang Wang, Fengming Luo, Weimin Li, Shengli Chen, Li He, Josemir W. Sander, Dong Zhou. Neurology Sep 2020, 95 (11) e1479-e1487; DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000010034  ⧉
  • Neuropathology of patients with COVID-19 in Germany: a post-mortem case series. Jakob Matschke, MD, Marc Lütgehetmann, MD, Christian Hagel, MD, Prof Jan P Sperhake, Ann Sophie Schröder, MD, Carolin Edler, MD et al. The Lancet Neurology, Published: October 05, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30308-2  ⧉
  • Neuropathogenesis and Neurologic Manifestations of the Coronaviruses in the Age of Coronavirus Disease 2019: A Review. Adeel S. Zubair, MD1; Lindsay S. McAlpine, MD1; Tova Gardin, MD, MPP1; et al.,  JAMA Neurol. 2020;77(8):1018-1027; DOI:10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.2065 ⧉
  • The emerging spectrum of COVID-19 neurology: clinical, radiological and laboratory findings. Ross W. Paterson, Rachel L. Brown, Hadi Manji, Michael S. Zandi et al., Brain, awaa240; DOI: 10.1093/brain/awaa240 ⧉
  • Neurological and neuropsychiatric complications of COVID-19 in 153 patients: a UK-wide surveillance study. Aravinthan Varatharaj, MRCP, Naomi Thomas, MRCPCH Mark A Ellul, MRCP, Nicholas W S Davies, PhD, Thomas A Pollak, MRCP, Elizabeth L Tenorio, PhD, et al. Lancet Psychiatry 2020, Published Online June 25, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30287-X ⧉
  • Guidance for the management of myasthenia gravis (MG) and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) during the COVID-19 pandemic
     Journal of the Neurological Sciences, Volume 412, 2020 ⧉
  • COVID-19 and Neuromuscular disorders. Guidon AC, Amato AA. Neurology. First published April 13, 2020; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000009566  ⧉

Letters and Case reports

  • Brief Report: Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccination Nina H Schultz, Ingvild H Sørvoll, Annika E Michelsen, Ludvig A Munthe et al. N Engl J Med. 2021 Apr 9. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2104882 ⧉
  • Microvascular Injury in the Brains of Patients with Covid-19. Avindra Nath, M.D., Rebecca D. Folkerth, M.D. December 30, 2020 N Engl J Med.; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2033369 ⧉
  • COVID-19-associated risks and effects in myasthenia gravis (CARE-MG)  Srikanth Muppidi, Jeffrey T Guptill, Saiju Jacob, Yingkai Li, Maria E Farrugia, Amanda C Guidon, et al., The Lancet Neurology Dec 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30413-0 ⧉
  • Early Guillain-Barré syndrome in coronavirus disease 2019. Ottavianai D, Boso F, Tranquillni E, et al.  Neurological Sciences; DOI:10.1007/s10072-020-04449-8 ⧉
  • Large-vessel stroke as a presenting feature of Covid-19 in the young. Oxley TJ, Mocco J, Majidi S, et al. N Engl J Med. 2020 Apr 28. Published Online ahead of print. PMID: 32343504; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2009787 ⧉
  • Miller Fisher Syndrome and polyneuritis cranialis in COVID-19.
    Consuelo Gutiérrez-Ortiz, Antonio Méndez, Sara Rodrigo-Rey, Eduardo San Pedro-Murillo, Laura Bermejo-Guerrero, Ricardo Gordo-Mañas, Fernando de Aragón-Gómez, Julián Benito-León, Neurology Apr 2020; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000009619 ⧉
  • Neurologic features in severe SARS-CoV2 Infection. Helms J, Kremer S, Merdji H, et al. N Engl J Med. 2020 Apr 15;.DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2008597 ⧉

Global Neurology Alliance: COVID-19 and Neurological Impact

The WFN, for the present, is unable to cover all specific information needed for neurology and COVID-19, and has decided to abstain from producing a WFN Coronavirus guideline.

The WFN and Global Neurology Alliance (GNA) are conscious that there will be a lot of information around COVID-19 and its neurological impact. At present it is difficult to distinguish the scientific value and impact.

For more information, please use the links (⧉) in this section to access up-to-date and relevant information including COVID-19 and about the members of the GNA. 

If you are unable to find answers to your specific questions, please let us know, that we might help to find you a specific source. Links to the WFN Specialty Groups are provided below where you can find additional contact information.

iStock 1203187628 coronavirus update


Virtual Congresses

  • 2021 AAN Annual Meeting 
    17-22 April 2021 | Virtual Meeting [
  • 16th ICNMD 2021
  • New dates: 21 - 22 & 28 - 29 May 2021 | Virtual Meeting [Read More ⧉]
  • 12th European Congress of Neuropathology
    New date: 31 May – 3 June 2021 | Virtual Meeting [Read More ⧉]
  • 7th EAN Congress goes virtual for 2021
     19-22 June 2021, originally to be held in Vienna  [Read More ⧉]
  • XXV World Congress of Neurology 2021
    3-7 October 2021 | Virtual Congress [

Cancelled International Neurology Congresses

  • 2020 AAN Annual Meeting 
    25 April-1 May 2020 | Toronto, Canada [
  • 2020 EANO Meeting 
    10-13 September 2020 | Glasgow, UK [
  • XVI Pan American Congress of Neurology (1st PAFNS Congress)
    11-14 March 2021 | Virtual


  • ESO-WSO Conference 2020
    New date: 7-9 November 2020 | Vienna, Austria [Read More ⧉]
  • AOCN 2020
    New date: 1-4 April 2021 | Taipei, Taiwan [Read More ⧉]
  • MIND & BRAIN - 60th International Neuropsychiatric Congress
    New date: 27-30 May 2021 | Pula, Croatia [Read More ⧉]
  • 1st PAFNS Congress
    New Date: March 2021 | Virtual

Covid 19 events concelled


For all enquiries, please contact: