Can DNA predict whether you’ll get covid?
What if a few members of a family get infected with covid while the rest of the family has no symptoms whatsoever? Does that mean the latter weren’t infected? If they weren’t, might that mean they are somehow genetically protected against the virus?
Through this study, Lifelines and the RIVM want to find out if they can use DNA to predict who might be less susceptible to the virus. The researchers also hope to gain insight into which people are more susceptible to side effects from being vaccinated.
The data they’ll use is sourced from Lifelines’ corona research. Lifelines is a large, long-term study involving over 167,000 people from the three northern provinces.
‘The Lifelines research programme is perfect to help us answer these questions’, says geneticist Lude Franke. ‘Lifelines is a health study that has been going on for fifteen years and has studied three generations of people. We look at grandparents, parents, and children, all from the same families. It’s a very valuable resource.’
By studying how the virus is transmitted within families and comparing this to the available DNA information, researchers can see whether this information might predict how susceptible someone is to the virus and how sick it might make them.
The researcher will also study participants who are getting vaccinated. Are people who’ve already had covid more likely to develop a short fever after being vaccinated? How long are they protected from getting covid when they’ve already had it but haven’t been vaccinated yet?
The study is part of the larger corona study started in March 2020 by Lifelines, the UMCG, the UG, and the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health. They’ll collect detailed information about how the coronavirus has impacted the participants’ health, living and working situation, and their risk of getting another infection. They’re also studying the way the corona restrictions are impacting society.