Why some people get more sick from Covid-19? Global study finds gene link
An international study involving over 3,000 researchers from 25 countries has found out the genetic answer to the question of why some people get more sick from Covid while some other do not report any symptoms. There are age and co-morbidity factors, but still, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has not been exactly the same for two people. And the answer to it lies in TYK2 gene that appears strongly connected to the disease severity, the study published in Nature said.
"Susceptibility to life-threatening infections and immune-mediated diseases are both strongly heritable. In particular, susceptibility to respiratory viruses such as influenza is heritable and known to be associated with specific genetic variants. In the case of Covid-19, one genetic locus—on chromosome 3p21.31—has been repeatedly associated with hospitalization. As with other virus-associated diseases, there are several examples of loss-of-function variants affecting essential immune processes that lead to severe disease in young people," the study said.
The results may help pinpoint “some clear biological markers that could be used to repurpose existing drugs or drugs in the pipeline,” Bloomberg quoted Mark Daly, a study co-author who is the director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland at the University of Helsinki and a geneticist at Harvard University, as saying.
The research began in March 2020 and in its course, the scientists studied almost 50,000 infected people and two million uninfected. About 13 generic locations have been identified in the research which are strongly linked to either susceptibility to the virus or severity. Some of these 13 genetic locations had previously been linked to other illnesses, including lung cancer and autoimmune diseases, the study said.
Several studies aiming to shed light on the genetic link behind severity have associated blood group with SARS-CoV-2 and claimed that O blood type provides more protection from Covid-19.
(With inputs from Bloomberg)