Dr. Farrer’s Radio Interview SiriusXM-Doctor Radio’s Internal Medicine show hosted by Dr. Ira Breite (NYU Langone Health)
January 9, 2023, Dr. Farrer and Dr. Subramanian were featured guests on SiriusXM-Doctor Radio’s Internal Medicine show hosted by Dr. Ira Breite (NYU Langone Health, gastroenterologist & Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine).
The talk discussed the recent study on the relationship between age-related macular degeneration as a risk factor for COVID-19 infection and severe disease.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration a Risk factor for Covid-10 Infection
Recent evidence has emerged to suggest that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a clinical risk factor for increased risk for infection and mortality. AMD has been reported to confer higher risk of severe complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection, including respiratory failure and death (25 percent), a risk which is higher than Type 2 diabetes (21 percent) and obesity (13 percent).
Considering these observations, researchers from Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine hypothesized that AMD and COVID-19 share common genetic risk factors and designed and executed a study that identified a novel association of the two diseases with variants in the PDGFB gene. This gene encodes a platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) which has a role in the formation of new blood vessels and is involved in the abnormal blood vessel changes that occur in AMD. They also found that more severe COVID-19 outcomes were associated with AMD likely arising from genetic predisposition to dysfunction involving complement proteins, as well as with a higher level of PDGF in blood serum.
“Our findings add to the body of evidence for the increased risk of infection and mortality from COVID-19 among AMD patients. Our analysis lends credence to previously reported clinical studies that found those with AMD have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection and severe disease, and that this increased risk may have a genetic basis,” explained co-corresponding author Lindsay A. Farrer, PhD, chief of biomedical genetics. Read more here