Around the world looking for people with innate protection against covid

Scientists hope to finally find out what genetic characteristics make these people resistant to infection.
A large international team of scientists led by immunologist Evangelos Andreakos from the Academy of Athens (Greece) is recruiting participants for a large-scale study aimed at finally clarifying the genetic basis of the phenomenon that has been haunting the scientific and general public around the world since the beginning of the pandemic. We are talking about huge differences in the response of different people to the SARS-CoV-2 virus - there is a layer of people who either do not get infected at all even through close, unprotected contact with infected people, or carry the infection without symptoms, and there are people who get infected very easily, bear the disease very severely and die from complications.
And if since the beginning of the pandemic, scientists have made significant progress in understanding exactly how and why severe covida develops, very little is still known about the origins of innate resistance to infection, say the authors of an article devoted to the planned study, published in the journal Nature Immunology.
More than 400 people from around the world have already been selected to participate in the study, and recruitment continues. These people somehow escaped infection despite, for example, getting sick from all the other members of their family with whom they lived in the same house, cared for them and used no special protective measures. All "resistant" participants take PCR tests to confirm that they are not infected despite close contact with sick people, and they also take a blood test for T-cell immunity to confirm that their bodies have not encountered the virus in the past.
 "Our study is designed to solve this intriguing mystery - why all of these people have not been infected despite repeated intense contact with the virus. We speculate that the reason lies in their genes," one of the authors, András N. Spaan of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, explained to IFLScience.
In their paper, the researchers reveal some "clues" that they expect to study particularly closely using the genetic material of the study participants. In particular, we are talking about the ACE2 receptor, which the virus uses to penetrate human cells. It is possible that due to genetic mutations, covid-resistant people have reduced ACE2 gene activity and have fewer "entry points" for the virus on their cell surfaces than other people.
The scientists hope that their research will eventually lead to the development of new covid treatments that can radically block the virus from replicating in the body.


You must be logged in to post a comment.