Polish scientists find gene that doubles risk of severe Covid

Polish scientists find gene that doubles risk of severe Covid

Doctors treat patient with Covid-19 in hospital in Warsaw

WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish scientists have discovered a gene they say doubles the risk of developing severe Covid-19, a finding that could help doctors identify people at greatest risk of contracting the disease.

With hesitation to get vaccinated becoming the biggest factor behind high death rates in central and eastern Europe, researchers hope that identifying those most at risk could encourage them to get vaccinated and give them access to options for vaccination. more intensive treatment in case of an infection.

“After more than a year and a half of work it was possible to identify a gene responsible for the predisposition to become seriously ill (with the coronavirus)”, said Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski. “This means that in the future we will be able to identify people with a predisposition to suffer from severe Covid conditions.”

Researchers at Bialystok Medical University found that the gene was the fourth most important factor in determining how severely a person can suffer from Covid-19, after age, weight and gender.

The gene is present in about 14% of the Polish population, compared to between 8 and 9% of the European population as a whole, and 27% of the Indian population, said Marcin Moniuszko, professor in charge of the project.

Other studies have also shown the importance of genetic factors in the development of severe Covid-19.

In November, British scientists said they had identified a version of a gene that may be associated with a doubled risk of lung failure from Covid-19.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk)

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