Why Are Some People Resistant to COVID?


Are you a super dodger? No, I don't mean the baseball team. I'm talking about COVID. Super dodgers are people who've yet to experience the symptoms of this highly contagious disease, and I'm not one of them. So, how are these people staying healthy?

Let's go back to the Black Death in fourteenth century Europe. Estimates are that up to half of all people in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East died, making it the deadliest pandemic in history. Scientists exhumed the remains of five hundred people who survived and those who died to study differences in their DNA. Almost two hundred fifty gene variants were found among the survivors and a gene called ERAP-two stood out. This gene plays a role in fighting off microbes.

Recall, humans have two copies of each gene and plague survivors who had two copies of the "resistant ERAP two variant gene" were more likely to survive and passed on this trait. So today nearly half of Brits still have it.

Now work on COVID-nineteen suggests a variant gene keeps a super dodger from getting sick but not from infection. For this study, scientists sequenced the DNA of almost fifteen hundred people and identified a mutant form of a well-known gene in the immune system called HLA.

It turns out this variant already recognizes the SARS-CoV2 virus which causes COVID-nineteen and can stop the virus before the infection can even start. What's neat is the HLA variant is in ten percent of people and even higher among the super dodgers. So your genes can make you a viral Terminator!

More Information

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