Age-related macular degeneration a risk factor for COVID-19 infection, severe disease

Researchers hypothesized that AMD and COVID-19 share common genetic risk factors and carried out 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.