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ApoE and COVID-19

A new study suggests people with the ApoE e4 genotype are more likely to have a severe case of COVID-19 if they fall ill, the Guardian reports.

As dementia appears to be a risk factor for COVID-19 severity, researchers from the US and UK sifted through UK Biobank data to examine whether there was a link between the Alzheimer's disease risk-liked ApoE genotype and COVID-19 severity, as they report in an accepted manuscript at the Journal of Gerontology.They combined both UK Biobank ApoE genotype data with data on UK Biobank individuals who underwent COVID-19 testing in the hospital, which they used as a proxy of disease severity.

From this, the researchers found that individuals who are ApoE e4e4 homozygotes were more likely to also have tested positive for COVID-19 in the hospital. "It is not just age: this is an example of a specific gene variant causing vulnerability in some people," senior author David Melzer from Exeter University tells the Guardian.

However, the Guardian notes that other scientists say more analysis is needed. "I would want to see this tested in a sample where dementia could be more confidently excluded, perhaps a younger cohort," David Curtis from the UCL Genetics Institute adds there.