For many decades, scientists have been saying that humans are almost 99.9 percent identical to each other and it is just that 0.1 percent that makes the difference. They have said that only a 0.1 percent difference is responsible for people’s unique looks and the difference in their susceptibility or resistance to diseases. As per the experts, gathering more information about these special genes can help develop new drugs and treatments. A team of experts from the Academy of Athens has been searching for people across the world who might be resistant to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Experts have said that some people’s genes might hold the keys for better treatment of COVID19. The lead researcher of the study Evangelos Andreakos has said that the start of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on a global scale has offered yet another description of scientific diversity in people during the course of infection that ranges from asymptomatic infections to fatal infection. He has said that the understanding of the pathophysiology of life-altering COVID19 infection has grown further since the first case has come to light in December 2019. But, experts still do not know much about the human genetics and immunological source of innate resistance to the virus. The lead author has said that although scientists have not been able to find much detail about inborn resistance, however, that does not imply that it does not exist.
The authors of the study have said that they have seen that at times, the whole family tests positive for COVID19 but a member of the family turns negative for the virus. They have said that there have been multiple reports of people who have somehow have been able to avoid the virus despite being exposed to the virus multiple times. Experts who have been involved in the new study have done another study last year that has shown that people who have blood type O have appeared to be slightly resistant to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and severe disease. There have been other studies that have analyzed proteins such as the ACE2 receptor or TMEM41B that the virus needs either to enter human cells or replicate itself inside the human cell. The authors of the study have proposed a strategy to identify, engage, and genetically test those individuals who might be naturally defiant to the virus. They have said that experts need to ponder on uninfected household contacts of people who have been diagnosed with symptomatic infection. Then the focus will shift to those people who have been exposed to an index case without wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for at least one hour per day within the first 3 to 5 days of disease symptoms emerging. Four weeks after the exposure, these people need to be screened for negative PCR tests and negative blood work. This screening needs to be done to analyze T cells to verify that these people have not been infected with the virus in the past.
The authors of the study have said that they have already enrolled nearly 400 participants who have met their criteria for being enrolled in a resistance study cohort. They have said that they are still looking for more participants. People from across the world can enroll in the study after meeting the criteria for the study. Health experts who have been involved in the study have said that antiviral treatments, COVID19 shots, and a better understanding of the pathogen, life has returned to normal in some parts of the world, however, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is going to remain with people for a long time. The lead author of the study, Evangelos Andreakos has said that finding those people who are blessed with some genetic benefits to be spared by the virus can be a boon for many people across the world, who are more vulnerable to the virus. It will be helpful as new variants of the virus might emerge as the virus continues to affect more people and spread across communities. The perspective of the authors has been released in a journal known as Nature Immunology. Many people across the world have already received an online link to participate in the study; however, first, they will need to fulfill the criteria proposed by the health experts.