AMD linked to Covid infection risks

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Research has found that people living with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have a higher risk of severe Covid-19 infections due to a genetic link.

The Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine identified AMD as a high-risk factor for severe complications of Covid infections and mortality rates due to genetic associations in the platelet derived growth factor gene, which impacts newly formed blood vessels and the abnormal blood vessel changes that occur in AMD.

Researchers suggest that lowering PDGFB gene activity and serum PDGF concentration could help reduce the severity of Covid-19. Co-corresponding author Manju L. Subramanian, associate professor of ophthalmology at BU, said: ‘Therapeutic strategies combining anti-VEGF therapy (a current treatment for AMD that limits blood vessel growth in the eye that can harm vision) with antagonists (drugs that bind to receptors) for blocking PDGF signaling have been considered even more effective than the single VEGF treatment and are currently under investigation in clinical trials.’

The study used genetic data from more than 16,000 people with AMD, more than 50,000 people with Covid-19, plus control groups.

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