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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

German study finds gene that lowers risk of dying from Covid-19

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A study by scientists at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) in western Germany found that a certain gene lowers the risk of dying from Covid-19 by 35%.

The study followed 1,570 patients who were diagnosed with the coronavirus between March 11, 2020, and June 30, 2021, the university said on Monday.

Of those participating in the study, 205 (13%) only had a mild illness, 760 (48%) were admitted to hospital, and 292 (19%) were admitted to intensive care. A fifth of the patients whom the study followed died (313).

The gene that made a fatal outcome of the disease less likely is named GNB3 TT, a variant that roughly 10% of the population of Europe are estimated to have.

GNB3 is a gene that decodes certain so-called G-proteins, which are important for a number of processes in the body. The GNB3 gene was shown in the study to “cause an activation of immune cells,” one of the authors of the study, Birte Möhlendick, told dpa.

This faster immune response “may explain why the risk of death is so much reduced for people carrying this gene,” Möhlendick said.

The study also corroborated that being younger and the absence of underlying health conditions such as diabetes significantly improve a person’s chances of surviving a Covid-19 infection.

The new Omicron variant, which appeared in the autumn of 2021, is not included in the study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Genetics.

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