People who are genetically predisposed to develop Alzheimer’s are more likely to be severely affected by the coronavirus, a new study has found. The researchers examined the DNA and medical records of almost 40,000 relatively young Britons (aged 48 to 60) and found that those with two copies of a faulty gene called APOE e4 were twice as likely to have a severe case of Covid-19 than those with a more common variant. One in 36 people of European ancestry are estimated to carry two copies of the gene, which previous research has found to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in old age by a factor of up to 14.
Several studies have shown that people with dementia are at a higher risk of severe Covid-19. “This study suggests this may not simply be due to the effects of dementia, advancing age or frailty, or exposure to the virus in care homes,” said Prof David Melzer, who led the team. It could be DNA. A separate study, which has not been peer-reviewed, found that 40% of residents of four care homes in London had the coronavirus, 60% of whom had either no symptoms or atypical symptoms. (The Week, 6 June 2020)
My reaction: Where can I get checked for the APOEe4 gene?