British Chloe Middleton, who died at the age of 21 due to Covid-19 last March, became one of the youngest victims of the pandemic. Middleton had never had a health problem before. Scientists who went after the case found five genes that increase the likelihood of young and healthy people dying from Covid-19 and regulate the functioning of the immune system. Researchers examined more than 2 thousand Covid-19 patients, more than 200 of them in intensive care. These genes were explained as follows: IFNAR2, TYK2, OAS1, DPP9 and CCR2.
People who are most at risk due to the new type of corona virus are thought to be elderly and chronically ill people, but not enough research has been done on this. Old age weakens the patient’s immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight the corona virus, but it is also a disturbing fact that some people, such as 21-year-old Chloe Middleton, do not match the profile of a serious Covid-19 infection victim.
Figures from the UK Bureau of National Statistics show that just over nine percent of deaths occur between the ages of 45 and 64, meaning many victims are middle-aged. Some had long-term illnesses or health problems such as obesity that reduced their ability to resist Covid-19, but many had no previous illnesses.
Scientists made a study on this situation that stunned them. According to the researchers, the significant differences in the genetic makeup of people may explain why some young people cannot fight the virus, while the elderly with some chronic diseases survive the disease with mild symptoms.
Researchers from the Edinburgh Roslin Institute in Scotland have discovered five key genes that increase the likelihood of young, healthy people dying from Covid-19.
Professor Eleanor Riley, an expert on the immune system and infectious diseases at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We can’t fully explain why these healthy young people die of Covid-19, but one possibility is that they are genetically predisposed to it. could have been, and that could have put them at risk. ”
Within the scope of the study, the team screened 2,244 critical Covid-19 patients, more than 200 of whom were admitted to intensive care. Blood samples were used to screen each patient’s DNA, and the results were compared with the DNA of healthy people to identify large genetic differences that could explain their critical condition.
Scientists have found that 5 of the 20 thousand or so genes that make up the human body can cause severe Covid-19 disease.
The genes called IFNAR2, TYK2, OAS1, DPP9 and CCR2 partially explain why some people have coronavirus and some do not, ”says Kenneth Baillie, co-author of the study,” Our results immediately highlight which drugs should be at the top of the list for clinical testing. ” According to the published findings, it was stated that potential drug treatments to be applied to certain genes detected could prevent the virus.
However, the researchers said all five genes play an important role in the body’s immune response to infection. For example, the gene called TYK2 plays an important role in activating immune system cells. However, if the TYK2 gene is defective, the immune response accelerates excessively and fatal conditions such as cytokine storm, lung inflammation and sepsis occur in patients.
Gene research also gives doctors more clues on how to better treat seriously ill patients. For example, a new class of drugs called JAK inhibitors (currently used for inflammatory rheumatism and other inflammatory conditions) – runaway inflammation triggered by errors in the TYK2 gene can reduce inflammation. Baillie, “The drugs that have the most potential among the drugs that will allow us to block the corona virus with the help of genes are a class of anti-inflammatory drugs called Jak inhibitors, which includes the arthritis drug baricitinib, which was also developed by Eli Lilly,” said Baillie’s team, He stated that the increase could protect against Covid-19 because it would likely mimic the effect of treatment with interferon.