If you haven’t contracted COVID-19 and are nervous to re-enter society, you might be tempted by this sales pitch.
An Australian company is currently marketing a DNA test to American consumers that predicts how deadly COVID-19 would be to you if you were to contract it. All you have to do is spit in a tube, mail off your DNA, and find out if you’re one of the 10-15% of Americans who might end up in the hospital or die from the virus.
The test costs $175 test and uses genetic markers linked to severe COVID-19 and other risk factors to determine an individual’s potential COVID-19 severity.
“I think it’s premature to use a genetic test to predict a person’s likely COVID-19 severity. We don’t understand exactly what these genetic variants mean or how they affect disease,” says genetic epidemiologist Priya Duggal of Johns Hopkins University.
Instead of being helpful, Priya Duggal is concerned that this test might encourage risky social behavior in individuals who receive a result indicating their severity risk is low. Duggal recommends treatment options remain the same regardless of if the test indicates a patient has a higher chance of death.
Although the test is available for purchase, it should be noted that the test has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
While a potentially helpful tool in the future, this test is not ready to be used to make medical decisions. Scientists are determined to continue studying and developing a DNA test, but in the meantime, it’s best to not waste your money.
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