A total of 16 new genetic variants have been identified in people who developed severe COVID-19, a recent study has revealed and also pointed out and also added that ‘this theory will help 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, an article published in the journal Nature has said.
“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,” said Kenneth Baillie, consultant in critical care medicine at the University of Edinburgh and one of the study authors, told reporters.
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.
For example, the researchers found changes in key genes that regulate the level of factor VIII, a protein involved in forming blood clots. “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.
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.