Dementia and other cognitive disorders are likely to be risk factors for developing severe Covid-19, according to research from the University of Georgia. The findings spotlight the need for special deal with populations with these pre-existing conditions all the way through the pandemic.
The study was once published online in the publication Mind, Behavior and Immunity. In the study, the researchers analysed data from almost 1,000 diseases and two particular genes to compare the health profiles of Covid-19 patients with those testing negative, on the lookout for commonalities in Covid-19 patients.
The study relied on data from UK Biobank, a long-term study of more than 500,000 participants investigating the respective contributions of genetic predisposition and environmental exposure to the development of the disease.
Beginning in March, the United Kingdom Biobank started to outline the Covid-19 status of its participants. The team in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences branch of genetics, led by assistant professor Kaixiong Ye and his postdoc, Jingqi Zhou, promptly connected the Covid-19 status to the electronic health data.
“We took a hypothesis-free approach and the most statistically remarkable ones are the cognitive disorders and Kind 2 diabetes,” said Ye, the senior creator of the study. “At this time, we do no realize the mechanisms at the back of these associations, we only realize these are more common in Covid-19 patients.”
Analysing the genetic factors that make some individuals at higher risk for severe Covid-19, the team focused on two genes: ACE2 and TPMPRSS2, known to be critical for the virus to go into into human cells.
“In the TMPRSS2 gene we found that a particular genetic variation is more common in the Covid-19 patient,” he said. The research team also found that variations in genes related to SARS-CoV-2 infection could also be associated with severe Covid-19 that requires hospitalisation.