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October 12, 2021 – 4:20 pm clock

Research results came about by chance

The researchers at the renowned University College London probably would not have expected that the diseases Covid-19 and Alzheimer’s have anything to do with each other before their current study. Because the scientists actually wanted to focus on research into Alzheimer’s disease. But her work brought her to a groundbreaking discovery: Apparently, Corona and Alzheimer’s patients show conspicuous genetic similarities.

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There is a genetic link between the diseases

The scientists published their research results in the medical journal “Brain” and announced that they could be very promising for new therapeutic approaches against Corona and Alzheimer’s. Until now, the connections between the two diseases had always been explained in such a way that patients with Alzheimer’s had a severe or even fatal course of Covid because they mostly belonged to the older risk group.

The current research shows, however, that it is not only due to such external factors, but also to a genetic connection. The reason for this is a change in the brain that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but is also responsible for the fact that the patient has a greater chance of suffering a severe course of Covid.

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Gene changes as the cause

The so-called “OAS1 gene”, known among medical professionals as oligoadenylate synthetase 1, is responsible for the whole thing. In humans, it is responsible for the body’s own defense against infections. In other words: it controls the inflammatory reactions in our brain. If this gene can no longer work properly, it can lead to increased inflammatory reactions in the respective patient and, in the process, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The research of the British scientists shows: Such a change in this gene was also found in Covid 19 patients. Here, too, there were inflammatory changes in the brain.

New approach to therapies

More research is needed, but the scientists’ results are an important milestone as they could help in the development of drugs against both diseases. For example, tests could be developed that show whether someone might need intensive care as he or she is more prone to a severe course of Covid. Likewise with regard to Alzheimer’s.

It will be some time before such tests are available. However, the scientists were able to contribute to a large extent to further expand the understanding of the diseases Covid-19 and Alzheimer’s and thus also to promote research into possible drugs against it. (kse)

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