Scientists have found a gene that may be associated with a risk of complications with COVID-19

Researchers from the UK and the US have studied the relationship between the “dementia gene,” the high risk of coronavirus infection, and the severe form of COVID-19.

The APOE ε4 gene, which increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in humans, has also been found to be associated with COVID-19. According to a recent study, the APOE4 polymorphic allele doubles the likelihood of developing a severe form of the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Researchers at the University of Exeter used genetic data and the health data of volunteers from the British biobank. Of the approximately 383 thousand people of European descent included in the study, more than nine thousand were carriers of two copies of the ε4 ApoE gene mentioned above.

Then, scientists compared this list with people who had a positive result on COVID-19 from March 16 to April 26, it is assumed that most of these cases were severe, since testing at that time was done only in serious cases.

Analysis showed that the homozygous genotype APOE4 ε4 was associated with a double risk of developing severe coronavirus infection compared to people who had a gene variant called ε3.

However, the results can be interpreted in different ways. On the one hand, the fact that people with dementia often develop severe COVID-19 can really be explained by the characteristics of their genes. But on the other hand, it is not yet possible to discount the conditions in nursing homes. Or, according to David Curtis, professor emeritus at the Institute of Genetics at University College London, dementia itself plays a role. To exclude this factor, it is necessary to conduct a study among younger people.

If APOE4 affects the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection, it will not be the first gene, which is an important factor. Variants in the ACE2 gene, which encodes the SARS-CoV-2 protein, have also been associated with susceptibility or severity of COVID-19 in preliminary studies.

By Cindy
In Other
May 28, 2020

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