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Genetic Variants Not Likely to Cause Severe Covid-19 Infection Among South Asians Reveals Study

A healthcare worker examines a child during a door-to-door surveillance to safeguard children amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, June 9, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

A healthcare worker examines a child during a door-to-door surveillance to safeguard children amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, June 9, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

CCMB Director said that that there are several factors including genetics, immunity, and lifestyle are the contributing factors for Covid-19 susceptibility

A recent study by a team of international scientists has found out that genetic variants responsible for Covid-19 severity in Europeans may not induce severity among South Asians.

The study which analyzed the role of the DNA segment was conducted to find out the phenomenon where some people experienced more severe Covid-19 symptoms and adverse outcomes than the rest.

“Our result reiterates the unique genetic origin of South Asian populations," Prajival Pratap Singh, the first author of this study was quoted saying.

Explaining the modus of Operandi, Dr Thangaraj, Director, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and chief scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) told India Today that the study compared infection and case fatality rates with South Asian genomic data over three different timelines during the pandemic and specifically looked into a large number of populations from India and Bangladesh.

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Among various outcomes, the study also led to the revelation that the genetic variants, correlated with Covid-19 outcomes, differ significantly among caste and tribal populations in Bangladesh.

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 Deliberating on the need for scientists to interpret their findings by differentiating caste and tribal populations in the Bangladeshi population, Prof George van Driem, a co-author of the study said that the scientists should be cautious while conducting such studies.

Commenting on the findings of the recent study, Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CCMB said that that there are several factors including genetics, immunity and lifestyle are the contributing factors for Covid-19 susceptibility, hence population studies in this field is proving fruitful in understanding the deadly diseases in details.

Earlier research conducted on the European population suggested that variations in a specific DNA segment were associated with severe Covid-19 infection. The study found that this DNA segment was present in 50 percent of South Asians as compared to 16 percent of Europeans.

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first published:June 12, 2021, 13:15 IST