A study by scientists at the British Medical Research Council (MRC) Virus Research Center at the University of Glasgow offers an explanation for why some people have better natural protection against severe coronavirus.
The study suggests a better immune response to the virus in people who carry a more protective “pre-made” version of the OAS1 gene, while other people carry a version of the gene that the virus can’t detect. British researchers wrote that the process of initial inclusion, the binding of a single lipid molecule to a protein, allows the ex-OAS1 gene to “search” for the invading virus and “sound an alarm” in the body.
– University of Glasgow (UofGlasgow) September 28, 2021
1.6 times higher chance of hospitalization and death
Their study showed that hospitalized patients with coronavirus, who had been shown to carry an earlier version of the gene, were associated with greater protection from the severe course of COVID-19. This suggests that it is one of the “key components” of the body’s immune response.
In contrast, in patients with a “bad” version of the gene, the researchers were more likely to develop an acute course of the disease, and these patients were 1.6 times more likely to need intensive care or die.
Natural protection from infection
However, experts argue that if new SARS-CoV-2 variants learn to avoid the protection offered by a prior copy of the OAS1 gene, they could become “more pathogenic and transmissible in unvaccinated populations.” According to scientists, this copy of the gene is likely to provide many people with natural protection against infection during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a study of nearly 500 hospitalized patients, expression of the pre-enzyme was associated with protection against severe cases #covid19, suggesting that this antiviral defense is a key component of the protective antiviral response. https://t.co/xuVdMcMmv5 pic.twitter.com/Hi20d54R9N
ScienceMagazine September 28, 2021
The researchers also claim that a species of horseshoe bat, a putative source of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, lost this protective gene about 55 million years ago. Therefore, the virus did not have to modify in a way that avoids the natural defense of the organism.
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