Gene linked to doubling risk of COVID-19 death found by UK scientists
Nov 5 (Reuters) – British scientists have identified a version of a gene that may be associated with double the risk of lung failure from COVID-19, a finding that provides new insights into why some people are more susceptible than othersto severe illness and which opens possibilities for targeted medicine.
The high-risk genetic variant is in a chromosome region that is also tied to double the risk of death in COVID-19 patients under age 60.
Around 60% of people with South Asian ancestry carry the high-risk version of the gene, researchers at Oxford University said on Friday, adding the discovery may partly explain the high number of deaths seen in some British communities, and the devastation wrought by COVID-19 in the Indian subcontinent.
The scientistsfoundthe increased risk comes from a gene that regulates activity of other genes, including one called LZTFL1 involved in the response of lung cells to viruses.
As a result, the gene variant could inhibit proper response to the virus among cells lining airways and the lungs.