The study found that there is a possibility that a risky gene present in the body of the human prevents the cells lining the airways and eventually stops the lung from responding to the virus in a proper way.
Researchers at the Medical Research Council Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, have identified the gene responsible for doubling the risk of respiratory failures from COVID-19. University of Oxford’s Medical Research Council Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine researchers have identified the gene that doubles the risk of respiratory failures in those suffering from COVID-19.
The gene, named LZTFL1, is found in 60 per cent of people belonging to South Asian ancestry, suggests study. The researchers also say that this could explain why there have been excess deaths seen in some of the UK communities and how badly India got impacted during the second wave of covid.
Despite finding the gene in 60 per cent of the people, it is too early to say that just one factor had led to these severe repercussions. Socio economic factors play an equal role when it comes to communities being severely impacted by the disease.
Like we said, 60 per cent of South Asian ancestry has this gene in them, 15 per cent of those with European ancestry also inhibits this gene. Also, Afro-Caribbean ancestry also carries the gene (2 per cent ). And hence, this gene does not explain why there were higher covid led deaths in black people and some other minority ethnic communities.
What does the study reveal?
The study which was released in the journal Nature Genetics this week, researchers used cutting edge technology to figure out which gene is responsible for the deaths in 65 year old from covid-19 and what’s the role of this gene to this outcome. An artificial intelligence algorithm was used by researchers to analyse huge quantities of genetic data from different types of cells present from all parts of the body. This analysis showed that this genetic signal will affect cells found in the lung.
The study found that there is a possibility that a risky gene present in the body of the human prevents the cells lining the airways and eventually stops the lung from responding to the virus in a proper way. You can also say that the absence of genes can substantially change how a person’s lungs respond to covid-19 virus. While the gene may impact the response system of the lungs, it does not impact the immune system of the human body. Researchers thereby believe that even though some people may have this gene, they should respond to the vaccines normally.
Professor Prof James Davies, co author of the study said in the statement that while genetics cannot be changed, the results of the study has shown that people with this particular higher risk gene can be benefited more with the vaccination. The genetic signal in our body affects the lung and not the immune system. Meaning, the increased risk should be cancelled out by the vaccine.