Delhi, June 12: A new study revealed that the genetic variants responsible for Covid severity in Europeans may not play a role in Covid susceptibility among South Asian.
An international team of scientists conducted the study to find out why some people experience more severe symptoms and adverse outcomes than others. The study analyzed the role of the DNA segment in determining Covid-19 outcomes among the South Asian population.
The report, titled ‘The major genetic risk factor for severe Covid-19 does not show any association among South Asian populations, has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
“Our result reiterates the unique genetic origin of South Asian populations. A dedicated Genome-wide Association Study on South Asian Covid-19 patients is the need of time for us in the Asian sub-continent,” said Prajival Pratap Singh, first author of this study.
“In this study, we have compared infection and case fatality rates with South Asian genomic data over three different timelines during the pandemic. We have especially looked into a large number of populations from India and Bangladesh,” said Dr Thangaraj, Director, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and chief scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).
The study also revealed that the genetic variants, correlated with Covid-19 outcomes, differ significantly among caste and tribal populations in Bangladesh. “Scientists working in the area of population studies should be more cautious to interpret their findings by differentiating caste and tribal populations, more explicitly so in the Bangladeshi population,” said Prof George van Driem, a co-author of the study.
“With growing data, it is becoming quite clear that there are several factors including genetics, immunity and lifestyle are the contributing factors for Covid-19 susceptibility. CCMB’s expertise in population studies are proving useful in understanding these details of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CCMB.
Earlier research conducted on the European population suggested variations in a specific DNA segment strongly 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.