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Covid-19: Close to explaining why some healthy young people become seriously ill or die

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Covid-19: Close to explaining why some healthy young people become seriously ill or die

An international team of scientists has announced that it has identified a number of genetic factors that seem to explain, at least in part, why some otherwise healthy young people become seriously ill or die from Covid-19. This question is one of the most important unanswered questions in the pandemic.

Scientists around the world are studying why some patients – even some with a favorable “health profile” – become seriously ill when infected with the coronavirus resulting in intubation in the ICU, while others show only mild symptoms or are completely asymptomatic. Although severe cases of the disease mainly affect the elderly and patients with comorbidities, such as diabetes and cancer, severe cases of Covid-19 sometimes occur in young adults without underlying diseases. So far it is not clear exactly what factors are causing such severe disease in these latter patients, but it is estimated that to some extent genetic factors are also involved.

The researchers, led by Dr. Rafael Carapito of the University of Strasbourg School of Medicine, who published the paper in the journal Science Translational Medicine, studied – combining genetic and artificial intelligence methods – 72 French patients under the age of 50. were treated for Covid-19 and who had no underlying or chronic disease. Of these, 47 had become seriously ill and needed intubation and 25 had been less seriously ill and did not need ICU admission. At the same time, 22 healthy individuals (the control group) were studied for comparison.

After a complete analysis of the patients' genome, as well as other hematological, cytological, etc. analyzes, it was found that the seriously ill showed worse inflammation, more blood clotting and, in addition, had five more active genes. The most important genetic “signature” associated with a heavy and potentially lethal Covid-19 appeared to be the most pronounced expression of the ADAM9 gene. This was confirmed by the analysis of a second group of 81 severe cases of Covid-19, compared with 73 patients who had recovered.

The researchers found that “silencing” (suppressing activity) of the ADAM9 gene in the human epithelial cells of the lungs, which had previously been infected with the coronavirus, slowed the spread of the virus. That is why the scientists said that this gene should be further studied as a possible priority target for a new therapeutic approach of Covid-19.

Link to the scientific publication: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.abj7521

Source: politis.com.cy

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