Scientists have discovered a possible link between an eye disorder called age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and “severe” complications and mortality from COVID-19. Reported observations signal toward AMD patients have a higher risk of:
- Respiratory failure and death (25%).
- Type 2 diabetes (21%).
- and obesity (13%).
Eye Disorder AMD and COVID-19
Researchers from Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine considered these reports when hypothesizing the eye disorder and COVID share common genetic factors. As such, they conducted a study to identify the commonality between the two diseases with variants in the PDGFB gene.
The reason the two diseases may be associated could be due to a genetic predisposition involving complement proteins. They may also experience a higher platelet-derived growth factor (Pdgf) in their blood.
Lindsay A. Farrer, Ph.D., chief of biomedical genetics, and co-corresponding author, said their “findings add to the body of evidence for the increased risk of infection and mortality from COVID-19 among AMD patients.”
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine’s Study
Their data adds credit to the previously reported clinical studies that found” patients with the eye disorder have a higher risk for COVID-19 and severe disease.” Dr. Farrer added the increased risk could “have a genetic basis.”
Clinical trials are underway to test out therapeutic strategies that combine eye disorder treatments with drugs that bind to receptors. Antagonists are used for blocking PDGF signals.
Manju L. Subramanian, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, and co-corresponding author, said the combination of the two “have been considered even more effective than the single VEGF treatment and are currently under investigation in clinical trials.”
More Research Is Needed
Researchers will need to conduct it on a larger sample size in order to better understand the correlation between the two diseases. This will help them better understand the shared risk factors and pathology that contribute to worsening clinical outcomes in both disease states.
Experts believe there is enough data between the studies to think there is a link between the two.
By Sheena Robertson
Neuroscience: Age-Related Macular Degeneration a Risk Factor for COVID-19 Infection and Severe Disease
Express: Eye disorder that affects millions may cause ‘severe’ complications and ‘death’ from Covid
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