British scientists are studying the genes of people infected with the new coronavirus, trying to find out why for some patients COVID-19 is a serious and sometimes fatal threat, and in others the infection goes unnoticed.
Researchers hope to identify specific genes that may be responsible for predisposition to the disease.
To do this, they will analyze the genes of about 20,000 people infected with coronavirus who needed intensive care and about 15,000 who had mild or no symptoms.
The researchers emphasize that little is known about the new coronavirus and it is not clear why it affects different categories of people in different ways.
“We hope the explanations are in the genes… I’m willing to bet that the risk of individuals depends on the genes,” intensive care specialist Kenneth Bailey, who leads the study at the University of Edinburgh, told Reuters.
Kennedy Bailey claims that “the chances of dying from an infection are highly dependent on genes, and this dependence is much higher than in the case of heart disease or cancer.”
Experts point to the hard work ahead, because a person has about 3 billion pairs of genes, and there may be 4 to 5 million differences between the two.
“By studying the complete sets of genes, we may be able to identify the options on which the response to COVID-19 depends and be able to suggest new treatments to reduce disease damage, save lives and prevent future epidemics,” said Mark Goldfield, another senior researcher. Genomics England.
British experts say they will share the results of their research with colleagues around the world.