Never get COVID. Scientists tell what is the “trick” of selected people who do not have a virus

Researchers are analyzing the DNA of people immune to the virus and looking for unusual mutations that could explain the apparent resistance to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Last year, many publications wrote about people who have never contracted the virus. Were they immune in some way? Did they have some beneficial genetic mutation? Did they just avoid people and keep taking precautions? Or are they just lucky and their time will inevitably come?

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Unfortunately, we still don’t know why some people managed to avoid COVID-19 for so long . Science takes time.

We have seen research being done at an unprecedented rate in 2020 to understand this virus and develop treatments for it. But this level of funding and collaboration is hard to sustain in a world with so many worthy research areas.

Immunity in the genes?

The COVID Human Genetic Effort project, led by US researchers, has recruited people who are known to have been exposed to the virus but have not contracted it themselves. This includes, for example, healthcare workers or people who lived in a household with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Scientists are examining their DNA and looking for unusual mutations that could explain the apparent resistance to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Research aimed at identifying abnormalities in our DNA, called genome-wide association studies, has already been able to identify genetic mutations that make some people resistant to other infections, such as HIV. If we can determine the reasons why people might be immune to a particular virus, then in theory this knowledge could be used to prevent infection.

But is it that simple? Despite our understanding of the genetic mutations that protect a happy minority of people from HIV, there is no vaccine or cure for this virus. And the infamous “CRISPR babies” (several babies born in 2018 whose genomes were edited in an attempt to make them immune to HIV) have been criticized for questionable ethics, not to mention illegal.

It may not be a mutation in a single gene, but a combination of mutations in several genes that make a small number of people immune to COVID-19. Targeting multiple genes without any unwanted side effects can be challenging and will make it much more difficult to use this knowledge to create drugs for covid.

But understanding the genetic mutations that make someone resistant to COVID-19 can provide valuable insight into how the virus infects people and causes disease. In other words, it might be scientifically interesting, but perhaps not clinically.

While it will be some time before we get answers from these studies, scientists do believe that there is a small group of people who are naturally immune to SARS-CoV-2 due to their genes.

Time to shift focus?

Although SARS-CoV-2 continues to infect people around the world and constantly mutates and evolves into new variants, its severity has been greatly reduced overall thanks to effective vaccines.

At the same time, an estimated two million people in the UK are reporting long-term COVID, of whom nearly one-fifth have symptoms so severe that the condition significantly limits their day-to-day activities.

While there are several theories as to what contributes to lingering COVID, including blood clots and chronic inflammation, we don’t really know why some people get sick and others don’t. So perhaps our focus should shift from the genetic aspects of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 to exploring whether some people may have a genetic predisposition to a life-changing chronic disease.

Focus has previously written about the increased mortality of children from COVID . It is associated with serious illnesses in mothers and newborns. The results support the need for targeted interventions, including vaccination, the researchers said.

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