Un-Common Gene Indicates COVID-19 Risk
Scientists in Poland may have discovered a gene that more than doubles the risk of severe COVID-19.
Researchers from the Medical University of Bialystok in Poland found that the gene is the fourth most important factor determining how a person suffers from COVID-19, after age, weight, and gender.
This gene is located on chromosome 3, one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans, and is present in around 14% of the Polish population, compared to 8-9% in Europe, and 27% in India.
The study showed that in addition to advanced age and obesity, the risk factor for severe COVID-19 is our genetic profile.
The project "Analysis of the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the genome of patients with COVID-19 to develop a set of genetic markers determining the individual susceptibility to infection with SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus and the severity of COVID-19 course” was led by Professor Marcin Moniuszko M.D., Ph.D., and Associate Professor Mirosław Kwaśniewski, both with the Medical University of Bialystok.
According to the authors of the discovery, it can help identify the most vulnerable patients.
The results of this discovery require a relatively simple genetic test, which, by identifying the genetic variant associated with chromosome 3, would help identify people at risk of a rapid course of the disease.
The study was conducted with about 1.5 thousand COVID-19 patients under a project funded by Medical Research Agency confirmed that our genes significantly influence the manner of our recovery from COVID-19.
The results of their research, scientists from the Medical University of Bialystok presented at a press conference (13.01.2022) with the participation of the Minister of Health Dr. Adam Niedzielski and the President of Medical Research Agency, Radoslaw Sierpiński, MD, PD.
‘Although the results of our research are still a scientific discovery, we very much hope that on their basis, a widely available test for patients, doctors, and diagnosticians will be created to identify people at greater risk of severe disease,’ stated these researchers.
Such a test may help to better identify people who, if infected, may be at risk of a rapid course of the disease before infection occurs.
Then, such people could receive exceptional care, increased protection, preventive (additional doses of protective vaccinations), and medical (new treatments directed against SARS-CoV-2) - suggests Professor Marcin Moniuszko.
Professor Moniuszko added ‘that genomic studies should not be a luxury in Poland, but an obligation because they allow us better to know the disease and its course in individual patients. They should become an element of prevention.’
Currently, obtaining a patent for the invention and its commercialization is pending.
This new study mirrors findings published in November 2021 by researchers at Oxford University who identified the gene responsible for doubling the risk of respiratory failure called LZTFL1.
The LZTFL1 gene is present in 60% of South Asians and allows the virus to multiply in the lungs.
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