Newfound Gene Increases COVID-19 Susceptability

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski.

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Health Minister Adam Niedzielski.

Natalie Ramirez, Reporter

Thundering harshly around the world for over two years is the storm of COVID-19. Three main things that increase the harm done to a person plagued by the effects of COVID are age, weight, and gender. Coming in fourth place, however, is a new gene discovered by Polish scientists on January 13th. It is said to increase the risk of becoming critically ill with COVID-19 by more than twice as much than without the aforementioned gene. The high placement on the list of risk factors was determined by researchers from the Medical University of Bialystok.

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski stated, “After more than a year and a half of work it was possible to identify a gene responsible for a predisposition to becoming seriously ill (with coronavirus) … This means that in the future we will be able to… identify people with a predisposition to suffer seriously from COVID.” With newer cases, it will be possible to test patients for this gene.

Marcin Moniuszko, the professor in charge of the project, found that about 14% of the Polish population, 8-9% of the whole of Europe, and 27% of India has the gene. It is imperative that the severity of coronavirus caused by this gene is understood. Researchers are hoping that more people who are currently reluctant to receive the vaccine will be encouraged to get the shot based on this newly discovered information.

The surge of the latest variant, Omicron, is infecting more people than ever and is accounting for 58.6% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Poland recently reached a critical point where health officials report that over 100,000 deaths have been related to COVID-19, 24,000 were during the most recent wave of Omicron. The new variant is worse on its own, however, this could be multiplied drastically due to the newfound gene.

Other studies also support the fact that genes play an important factor in how serious someone may be affected by the virus. Another gene was found in November by British scientists that may be linked to doubling the risk of lung failure from the infection of COVID-19.