Never had covid-19? The answer may lie in your genes

The reason some people have not been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 in the period of more than two years of the pandemic intrigues scientists. researchers from Oxford University investigated how genes can influence the body’s immune response and may have discovered important information to resolve this question.

The findings were published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine on October 13 and point to a gene that helps generate a stronger immune reaction after the two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are administered. People who had HLA-DQB1*06, a variation of the HLA gene. Human Leukocyte Antigen), had a higher antibody response than those without the gene.

In the UK, two in five people have this allele, and scientists have come to the conclusion that they are less likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 after being vaccinated than others. This would be because the HLA gene helps the immune system distinguish the body’s own proteins from proteins that are produced by viruses and bacteria.

Resistant to covid-19? New research helps understand genetic factors that protect people

Researchers evaluated elderly people over 90 and the case of identical twins

In other parts of the world, scientists are also trying to understand how genetics can explain why some people are more protected against Covid-19 than others, which could mean the same is true for other diseases and help in the development of new vaccines. and medicines.

At the Center for Human Genome and Stem Cell Studies (CEGH-CEL) of the São Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp), researchers analyzed data from elderly people over 90 years old who recovered from the disease with mild symptoms. or who remained asymptomatic after testing positive for the new coronavirus.

The analysis indicated that those who had mild covid had more variants of the MUC22 gene, linked to the production of mucus and lubrication of the airways, which could mean that the gene reduces the active immune response against the virus while protecting the airways, increasing the individual resistance.

Scientists from Fapesp also identified that the greater amount of an allele of the HLA-DOB gene may be related to a worsening of the infection. This gene is more common in African and South American people and can interfere with the passage of virus antigens to the cell surface, which alters the immune system’s ability to identify these antigens and provoke a response to them.

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