Gene Linked to Alzheimer’s Also Linked to Severe Version of COVID-19

From The Scientist, a worrying report on a link between Alzheimer’s and a more severe form of COVID-19.

“David Melzer of Exeter University and colleagues used genetic and health data on volunteers in the UK Biobank to look at the role of the APOE4 variant, which affects cholesterol transport and inflammation. Of some 383,000 people of European descent included in the study, more than 9,000 carried two copies. The researchers cross-referenced this list with people who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 16 and April 26—the assumption being that most such cases were severe because testing at the time was largely limited to hospital settings. The analysis suggested that the APOE4 homozygous genotype was linked to a doubled risk of severe disease, compared with people who had two copies of another variant called ε3.”

COVID has ravaged nursing homes and other residential care facilities around the world, and this study strongly indicates that there is a genetic element to those deaths. Further study is needed – particularly by identifying the APOE4 variant gene among younger populations – to see just how impactful this gene is in causing the more severe forms of COVID.

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