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DNA test will be added to Covid screening – Reuters

People most at risk for coronavirus can be identified by simple genetic testing, health officials say

Poland’s health ministry plans to introduce a new type of coronavirus screening after the discovery of a gene that determines the likelihood of a patient suffering from severe or fatal Covid-19.

Those most at risk of suffering the most severe effects or even dying from the coronavirus can be identified using a genetic test, health officials in Poland revealed this week. The study that led to the discovery was supported by the country’s Ministry of Health and Medical Research Agency and involved around 1,500 patients with Covid-19. Researchers from Bialystok Medical University have identified a chromosome 3 gene that significantly influences the severity of the virus’ effects on an individual.

After more than a year and a half of work, it was possible to identify a gene responsible for a predisposition to fall seriously ill [with Covid]“, declared Thursday the Minister of Health, Adam Niedzielski, during a press conference.

The findings will now be applied to help identify patients at increased risk from the virus when or even before they contract the infection. The Ministry of Health plans to develop and launch a “relatively easyand a rapid genetic test that can be performed alongside PCR screening within months.

It could also be implemented around the world to help people with apparent genetic conditions, Polish officials said.

It is a step towards personalized medicine, which is the medicine of the future – when, knowing our genome, we will know what to expect in terms of healthJoanna Zajkowska, a professor at the University of Bialystok, told Polish radio.

If at least one version of the gene is present in the chromosome, a patient is more than twice as likely to suffer the worst effects of Covid-19 or die, according to the Individual Genetic Susceptibility Study conducted by Marcin Moniuszko and Miroslaw Kwasniewski . Gene is the fourth most important factor responsible for acute illness and is thought to be an even more important risk factor than comorbidity. It comes after age, obesity and gender (men are believed to suffer more from Covid than women), according to the study.

The gene is present in around one in 10 people in Europe, while in India the rate is almost three times higher, with some 27% of the population genetically predisposed to severe Covid. In Poland, where the death rate from the virus is higher than the EU average, around 14% of the population carry the gene.

DNA test will be added to Covid screening – Reuters

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been trying to understand why, even among people of the same age, some are infected asymptomatically while others are fighting for their lives.said a university spokesperson. “Thanks to research, we are getting closer to understanding this phenomenon. ”

The Polish study is not the first to suggest a correlation between certain genetic factors and patient reactions to Covid-19. A 2020 genome-wide analysis of Italians and Spaniards studied blood types and a chromosome 3 gene cluster in association with respiratory failure caused by the coronavirus. Extreme susceptibility to severe disease was found in people with certain DNA markers, while the study also showed that people with positive type A blood are at higher risk of respiratory failure from Covid.

Other German research has also detected a correlation between a cluster of genes on the same chromosome and the risk of severe infection. A mutation that helps fight RNA viruses, inherited by some people from our Neanderthal ancestors, has been discovered.


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