Do Genetics Affect COVID Severity?

A new study has revealed genetic similarities between those who battle blood clots and faulty inflammatory responses with more severe cases of COVID-19.

Scientists used data from the Million Veteran Program, one of the largest and most diverse biobanks in the world. Scientists were able to examine the various DNA pieces that could be exploited by COVID-19.

Researchers examined whether other health conditions were associated with the variants of severe COVID-19. They analyzed about 1,500 disease traits that were present in the electronic health record.

Researchers found that the ABO locus, a gene’s position on a chromosome, was associated with severe cases of COVID-19. The study found that “patients with these variants were 33% more likely to have conditions like venous embolism and thrombosis, which both involve blood clots.”

Additionally:

  • Those with African ancestry were 29% more likely to have neutropenia, which is a low white blood cell count.
  • Those with European ancestry did not have an increase in neutropenia associated with severe COVID-19 cases.

While genetics can certainly play a part in the severity of COVID-19 cases, genetics are not the only factors at work. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise, and clean living environments are crucial to staying healthy and reducing the severity of disease.

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