Researchers Believe Genetics Play Significant Role in Determining Who Gets Severe COVID

March 22, 2022, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The longer that COVID is around the better we understand it’s effects on people. It seems that genetics play a significant role in who develops severe COVID. This discovery will may it easier to predict patient outcomes and to develop more successful treatments for individuals who get COVID.

As we more from a pandemic to endemic phase of the disease globally it is important to recognize that people will continue to get COVID, and that as the virus mutates vaccine efficacy will vary. In many ways experts expect the prevention and treatment of the virus to become like that of many other potentially fatal viruses. We’ll be able to vaccinate as a frontline treatment, then for those who either refuse to get vaccinated and get sick, or for those who get breakthrough infection the disease will be treated with the goal of preventing complications and fatalities.

We know now that those who are not vaccinated are far more likely to land in the hospital with severe cases of COVID, and that they are far more likely to die because of the virus or complications arising from it.

This article from CBC News breaks down the new research well. You can read it below, or here.

Scientists identify various genetic differences in severe COVID patients

Thomson Reuters · Posted: Mar 07, 2022 1:23 PM ET | Last Updated: March 7

Discoveries may help predict patient outcomes and help researchers develop treatments

Scientists have pinpointed 16 new genetic differences in people who developed severe COVID-19 in a large study that could help researchers develop treatments for very sick patients.

The results suggest that people with severe COVID have genes that predispose them to one of two problems: failure to limit the ability of the virus to make copies of itself, or excessive inflammation and blood clotting.

The scientists said their discoveries, published in the journal Nature on Monday, could help prioritize the likely treatments that could work against the disease.

Eventually, the information could even help predict which patients were likely to become severely ill.

"It is potentially possible in future that we will be able to make predictions about patients based on their genome at the point of presenting [for] critical care," Kenneth Baillie, consultant in critical care medicine at the University of Edinburgh and one of the study authors, told reporters.

"Blood clotting is one of the main reasons why patients with COVID develop a shortage of oxygen. So that's potentially targetable to prevent those clots from forming," Baillie said.

The genetic analysis of nearly 56,000 samples from people in Britain showed differences in 23 genes in COVID-19 patients who became critically ill, when compared with the DNA of other groups included in the study, including 16 differences that had not been previously identified.

Findings may guide search for usable drugs

The new findings could help guide scientists in their search for existing drugs that might be useful for treating COVID-19.

For example, the researchers found changes in key genes that regulate the level of factor VIII, a protein involved in forming blood clots.

But "we can't know if these medicines will work until we try them in people."

One of the previously discovered genes, TYK2, is targeted by Eli Lilly's arthritis drug baricitinib, now being studied as a treatment for COVID-19.

The drug was shown last week to cut the risk of death and hospitalization in COVID-19 patients by 13 per cent in a trial.

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