COVID researchers are learning why some people don’t show symptoms

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals the infrastructural morphology shown by coronaviruses. (Alyssa Eckert, MSMI/Dan Higgins, MAMS via CDC)

San Francisco, California (kroneOnce a COVID-19 infection appears, the virus has severe differences in how it affects the body of an unvaccinated person.

Throughout the pandemic, the new coronavirus has proven fatal to some patients. “(COVID) can attack almost anything in the body with severe consequences,” said cardiologist Harlan Krumholz of Yale University. Science Journal.

Other infected patients are asymptomatic, which means they never feel sick.

Most of the studies of COVID, or SARS-CoV-2, conducted over the past two years, have focused on patients who experienced severe symptoms or died. Given the complexities of the virus, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have launched a study focusing on why some infected people remain asymptomatic.

Dr. Jill Hollenbach, professor of neuroscience, epidemiology, and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, conducted a study on a group of 1,400 people. The patients selected for the study were not immune, tested positive for COVID, and had no symptoms while infected.

Hollenbach and the research team analyzed each person’s DNA, closely studying a group of genes called HLA. They found a genetic mutation in the HLA genes that fought off COVID so quickly, the person’s body didn’t have time to develop symptoms. And although the mutation wasn’t bulletproof, it did increase a person’s chances of remaining asymptomatic by tenfold.

“My lab is interested in a group of genes called HLA,” Hollenbach told Nexstar’s KRON. These genes are pivotal immune response genes. We wondered if certain versions of these genes were more or less effective in helping people deal with COVID infection.”

The study hypothesis and primary results were Posted as an initial draft here. Hollenbach said the team is excited to publish their full study next month.

Previously, researchers wondered, is there a genetic basis for so-called “COVID enthusiasts”, or people who have been exposed to the virus but never been infected?

“There hasn’t been much success in answering that question. There are a lot of complications,” Hollenbach said. “But we can ask the question, once someone is infected, why is the course of the disease different? What is the immune basis? “

Researchers discovered that patients with COVID who had never even felt a sniff had a common gene mutation, HLA B 1501. This gene was particularly effective at triggering a rapid immune response against COVID-19 using T cells previously generated from the common cold.

I wouldn’t call it natural immunity. I would call it a pre-existing immunity. “We’re not crazy about using the term natural immunity, because vaccine-induced immunity is also natural, in a different way,” Hollenbach said.

People with the HLA B 1501 gene were essentially “COVID-to-you-go” – they didn’t avoid infection, but they avoided feeling sick.

NPR even reported on Hollenbach’s findings, writing, Hollenbach and colleagues demonstrate that with a specific HLA mutation, some people have T cells that are preprogrammed to recognize and fight SARS-CoV-2. So there is no delay in producing COVID-specific weapons. It already exists.”

One day, we hope that this research will be used to devise better vaccines and treatments for COVID. But until then, at least this protection exists for a lucky few.

The best news? The mutation is common, Hollenbach said, estimating that about 1 in 10 people have it.

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