Q and A


Are genetic factors important for COVID-19

Hi, is there any evidence of genetic factors influencing how COVID-19 disease presents differently in people?



Thanks for the question.

So far everything is too new for researchers to be looking at genetic factors. We are only just about tracking numbers of infections and easier risk factors to identify – for example, older age and existing health problems increase the risk of catching coronavirus and can make COVID-19 more severe.

This includes most serious lung complications (asthma, COPD etc), diabetes, heart, liver and kidney disease and cancers. Many of these diseases can be related to genetic factors, so indirectly this is having an impact.

It will take longer to see whether there are more direct genetic links to COVID-19.

However, as the range of responses is so extreme – from asymptomatic and mild to severe needing hospitalisation – it is plausible that genetics might explain some of these differences.

This article in the journal Science talks more about genetics and COVID-19.


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