Genetic makeup determines coronavirus symptoms, a new study of twins reveals

Scientists have identified that 50 percent of coronavirus symptoms are influenced by the genetic makeup of a patient. The study involved analyzing data from 2,600 twins to analyze how symptoms are reflecting on them.

The spread of coronavirus around the world caught scientists flat-footed. To date, data available about the virus remains scarce. Research into the virus and how different factor are influencing its aggressiveness to some people resulting in hospitalizations while others are asymptomatic to the virus.

Genetic makeup and coronavirus study

Researchers at King’s College London decided to investigate this phenomenon by investigating the genetic factors influencing the intensity of coronavirus in people. They used the Covid-19 Symptom Tracker app to get data about people displaying signs and symptoms of coronavirus.

Armed with data from the more than 2.7 million app users, the data was fed in an artificial intelligence system that analyzed symptoms to determine if they are infected with the coronavirus. The study also tracked data of about 2,600 twins who were also taking part in another study to determine if the genetic makeup influenced how coronavirus symptoms reflect in people.

Research Finding

The data collected indicated astounding results that the genetic makeup of a person may be a factor in how they are affected by the virus. For identical and fraternal twins, the data was analyzed, taking into account how much genetic makeup they share with each other. For identical twins, the share of 100 percent genetic makeup provided good data to determine how two individuals with the same genes will be affected.

For fraternal twins, they shared approximately 50 percent of genetic materials. This provided the data about how a change in genes influenced how the virus affected people.

Symptoms influenced by genes

The data obtained from the research showed that symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, delirium, and losses of taste and smell were influenced by the genetic makeup of individuals. For identical twins, when one displayed a symptom such as fever during the infection period, the other twin also displayed similar symptoms. This was not the case for fraternal twins.

Symptoms such as a hoarse voice, a cough, skipped meals, chest pain, and abdominal pain, however, were not influenced by the genetic makeup. These symptoms were universal and could appear in one identical twin and not reflect on the other.

The study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, showed that 50 percent of coronavirus symptoms could be pinned down to the genetic composition of an individual.

The study is a clear indication of how the genetic makeup of people is closely linked to their immune system and gut microbes, which in turn influences the body’s ability to fight diseases. The research will also provide a significant step forward in the fight against coronavirus by determining the most vulnerable individuals through the use of genetic analysis and protecting them.


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