Base Sequence May Be Related to Severe COVID-19 Symptoms

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, May 17 (Jiji Press)--The difference in a base sequence near a gene related to immune functions may be linked to the severity of the COVID-19 disease blamed on the novel coronavirus, a Japanese research team said Monday.

According to the group, comprising researchers from institutions including Keio University, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, and Kyoto University, 10 pct of East Asians, including Japanese people, have the different base sequence.

Among people aged under 65, the risk of developing serious COVID-19 symptoms was twice as high for those with the gene sequence compared with those who do not have it, the team said. The finding may lead to the development of a drug to prevent severe COVID-19 symptoms, it said. The base sequence in question is rarely seen among Western people, the group said.

The team, set up in May last year, analyzed the genome of blood samples collected from COVID-19 patients at hospitals around Japan, and compared data from 440 seriously ill patients under 65 with those from 2,377 people under 65 that were taken before the coronavirus outbreak.

The group discovered that people with a specific sequence for a base near the Dock2 gene, which is closely linked to immune functions such as lymphocyte activation, accounted for a significant portion of people with severe symptoms.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press