DNA partially determines how sick corona makes you
The study’s results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. ‘These findings can contribute to the development of a drug for Covid-19’, says Lude Franke, genetics professor at the UMCG.
The study shows that genetic factors partially determine how sick someone gets. ‘We’ve found the first DNA locations, which means we can start to figure out how those locations influence the disease and which biological processes are disrupted.’
This knowledge can contribute to the development of antiviral drugs or to finding existing medication that are known to impact those same DNA locations, says Franke.
Lude Franke is one of the initiators of the large-scale Lifelines corona study which aims to identify genetic and environmental factors that lead to corona infections. Tens of thousands of residents of the northern provinces are participating in the study through Lifelines.
They’ve filled out a questionnaire about their health every two weeks since the start of the corona crisis. By combining all this data, the researchers are able to notice differences in DNA.
An international research group has studied the DNA and the course of the disease in large numbers of Italian and Spanish Covid-19 patients. Franke: ‘We helped out by replicating the results, and we, too, found a connection between the progress of Covid-19 and certain DNA locations.’
In order to learn more about the coronavirus, genetic scientists from all over the world are working together through the Covid-19 Host Genetics Initiative. Findings from the continuing Lifeline corona study have been shared with this consortium and used for the international article.