The COVID-19 is a serious pandemic disease that has wreaked havoc. It has left countries into lockdown and shows no signs of stopping. According to a new study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut and the University of Exeter Medical School which drew data from a Bio-Bank in the UK, it reveals that people with two copies of the ApoE4 face as much as double the risk of getting infected by COVID-19.
ApoE e4e4 is considered to be one of the largest genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s. However, some researchers are cautious in drawing such a conclusion. The study relied on the data of 500,000 volunteers who were aged between 48 and 86. They took COVID-19 tests during March and April. Their data was compared with ApoE4 alleles who had severe COVID-19.
What Is The Relationship of the ApoE Matter With COVID-19?
Every individual has two copies of the ApoE gene. However, there are different variations of the gene such as the ApoE4, ApoE3, and ApoE2. The combination that one has determines their ApoE genotype. The most common genotype is ApoE3. It does not influence your risk of getting Alzheimer’s. However, the E4 allele is present in as much as 15 percent of people. It lowers the age of onset and increases their risk of developing Alzheimer’s. If you have even a single copy of the E4, it would double or even triple your risk of Alzheimer’s. Two copies of E4 would increase your risk by about a 12 factor.
The study revealed that two copies of the E4 doubled the risk of severe COVID-19 as compared to those that have an ApoE3. Hence, the Alzheimer’s gene exposes individuals to severe COVID-19.
Are There Any Limitations To The Study?
It is quite impressive that the researchers managed to analyze the data so quickly. But, it is important to note that there might be other factors that could be impacting the results since not much is known about the populations that were analyzed. For instance, the researchers lacked the data on whether the study volunteers live in a nursing home and had mild cognitive impairment.
Furthermore, the mean age of the participants was 68 years. Hence, they are more likely to be affected by COVID-19. Their cognitive status affects the study more than their genetic status. People that have two copies of the E4 may also have some form of cognitive impairment at the age of 68. For instance, they might be in poorer health, forget to take medications, and receive adequate care. Each of these variables would increase the likelihood of contracting COVID-19.
The study reveals that the Alzheimer’s gene is linked to a higher risk of severe COVID-19. Although it might be early to take the study as suggestive, it should not be discounted either.