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Study finds link between COVID-19, Alzheimer’s risk

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani discusses the results of a study showing a link between COVID-19 and Alzheimer's disease.

Video Transcript


- A new study looking at COVID-19's connection to neurological diseases has identified a worrying new trend. Elderly people who had COVID could now be at greater risk for developing Alzheimer's. Joining us to explain everything and break it down is Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani. And worrying indeed. What are some of the details here?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So this study, which came out of the "Journal of Alzheimer's Disease" and Case Western University, really looked at the increased risk of Alzheimer's for those who are older. And specifically they noted that anyone who is 85 years and older or a woman, they are at highest risk of those who could be affected. Seniors broadly are at risk. The risk increases by 50% to 80% of new Alzheimer's diagnoses post-COVID.

The study, it's important to note, was a look back on the development of cases as well as took place in a sample size that was prior to the Delta wave. So as we know, Delta really had a more lethal impact as well as a stronger impact on the body. And this really just adds to the growing body of concern over the impact of COVID on the body and the increased risk. As we know, it attacks so many different organs and it really increases a risk of other diseases.

So even while we say or we talk about how symptoms could be mild, the long-term impact of COVID is what is yet to be really fully understood. And this is just another report to highlight that.

- Well, yeah, very concerning. I guess I said that before. But you're also following another study, and this has to do with the US patent system being used to corner certain drugs. We've seen this evolve in the tech space and also the pharmaceutical space before. But what are the latest developments?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Right. So this actually-- like you said, it really builds on what we already know. There is already a broad body of knowledge on this topic. It's known as evergreening of these drug patents. But what this report highlighted was just that monetary impact that we see. The cost to US patients as a result of evergreening, especially in comparison to Europe, is $167 billion.

And that's because Europe's laws don't allow companies to continue extending patents based on tweaks or based on little things that they use to extend the patent life. And Europe gets to generics in about seven to eight years earlier than the US. So they have a much longer period of time where generics and biosimilars are used. And this is important because we know that we've been talking, of course, of drug competition and reducing the price of drugs. And we know that the Inflation Reduction Act really tackled that with giving Medicare the negotiating responsibilities.

But when you look at broadly the market, branded drugs right now, 8% of the market, 79% of drug spend in the US. So that's a really important number to keep in mind. And this could help sort of educate or sort of-- serve as a jumping-off point for conversations on how to review the patent system and make sure that some of these drugs aren't unnecessarily extended.

- Yes. Interesting to note here, I guess as I am, that we also see some of these behaviors in the financial markets. Regulatory arbitrage, latency arbitrage, it's all the same bucket of money here that everybody is chasing. Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani.