Health Editor’s Note: Connecting the dots for COVID-19. Could this mean that some of the parts of the COVID-19 puzzle are becoming apparent? Are we closer to understanding why some people are hit harder with COVID-19 than others?
On March 23, VT brought you the news of how the use of chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment could harm a percentage of the world population who have G6PD deficiency. This is a This deficiency, brought on by a genetic condition, is commonly found in the Mediterranean region, Africa, and Asia. People in Spain and Italy have been more affected than other some other countries. In the U.S., the African-American population is being harder hit. Could this be the genetic condition that causes a difference in the severity of a COVID-19 infection?…..Carol
Does G6PD Deficiency Relate to COVID-19 Infection?
by Dan J. Vick, MD, DHA, MBA, CPE, a pathologist and former hospital executive, is a member of the graduate teaching faculty in the Master of Health Administration Program, School of Health Sciences, in the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.
In an April 8 MedPage Today article, Mark Zucker, MD, asked the question as to why there is differential susceptibility to COVID-19 infection. In other words, why do some people become severely ill while others are asymptomatic? He raised the issue of possible genetic determinants in susceptibility and response to the coronavirus.
This is a question that I have been pondering as well, particularly as to whether there may be a link between glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and susceptibility to, and virulence of, COVID-19 infection. G6PD deficiency is a common, X-linked recessive genetic condition that affects some 400 million people worldwide. It is the most common human enzyme defect. G6PD is an important catalyst in the pentose phosphate pathway, in which glucose is converted to pentose sugars and NADPH is produced. NADPH serves an important role in ridding cells of free oxygen radicals, thereby reducing oxidative stress and preventing cell destruction. Most cells in the body contain mitochondria, which also generate NADPH. However, red blood cells lack mitochondria and, therefore, rely upon the pentose phosphate pathway for generating this important cell-protecting molecule.