Twice as high risk due to a faulty Gene?
With dementia related faulty Gene appears to double the risk for a severe course of COVID-19. This also applies to people who are not suffering from any Form of dementia.
In the case of a large-scale joint study of the University of Exeter Medical School and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, it was found that people of European descent, which carry two defective copies of the so-called APOE gene in have a twice as high risk for a severe COVID-19-disease. The results of the study were published in the English journal “Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences”.
People of European descent in General, with a higher risk?
The researchers analyzed their study data from the UK Biobank study, which includes the health data and genetic data from 500,000 people. They found an increased risk for a severe COVID-19-disease among Participants of European descent, if these two faulty copies of the APOE-contributed gene (which is also referred to as e4e4) in.
Increased risk for heart disease and Alzheimer’s
One of 36 individuals of European descent has two defective copies of this gene, reports the researchers. It was already known that this increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to a factor of 14. In addition, the risk of heart increases for affected persons diseases significantly. The research group found that these genetic mutations increase the risks of COVID-19 clearly, even if people do not have the above-mentioned diseases.
Possible explanations for the increased dementia risk
The Team had found in earlier studies that people with dementia are diagnosed three times more likely to have severe COVID-19. A part of the increased risk could be due to the increased spread of the Virus into nursing homes due to, explain the researchers. The current study indicates, however, that a genetic component might be in the game.
Twice the risk for severe COVID-19-diseases
The research group found that people with the genotype APOE e4e4 had a twice as high risk to develop a severe COVID-19-disease, compared with people with the widespread e3e3-Form of the APOE gene.
Faulty Gene occurs rarely
In the analysis, only 2.36 percent of the 382.188 Participating with European ancestors had a defective ApoE e4e4-Gen. However, to 5.13 percent of the positive effect on COVID-19 people tested carried this gene variant in itself. This suggests that the risk is modest compared to e3e3 twice as high (410 per 100,000, compared with 179 per 100,000), according to the research group.
Improved handling due to new results
“This is an exciting result, because we find out now might be able to, such as this faulty Gene to the susceptibility for COVID-caused 19,” reports study author Dr. Chia-Ling Kuo from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in a press release. The findings could lead to new forms of treatment.
Specific biological differences
In addition, it is shown by the investigation, once again, that increasing the risk of disease, which appear with aging is inevitable, may be attributed in reality to specific biological differences, adds the expert. This could help to understand why some people up to the age of one hundred years and beyond to remain active, while other people suffer disabilities and already at the age of sixty die.
Conclusion of the study
“Several studies have now shown that people with dementia are exposed to a high risk of heavy COVID-to develop 19. This study suggests that this high risk may not be due simply to the impact of dementia, age, infirmity or exposure to the Virus in nursing homes,“ reports the head of the research team, Professor David Melzer. The effect could be due in part to the genetic predispositions, the affected people for both COVID-19 as well as for dementia prone to make, the expert explains further. (as)