Covid: We know why some people infected with the virus don’t get sick

Ultimately, this discovery may become a new basis for the development of treatments and vaccines against Covid-19.

10% of the world’s population carry a genetic mutation called HLA-B*15:01 that protects them from symptoms COVID-19 when they contract the virus, according to a study published by University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers in the journal Nature.

The genetic mutation concerns the human leukocyte antigen (HLA B27) (in English “Human Leukocyte Antigen”). It is a protein located on the surface of certain cells that plays an important role in immune defense by detecting the presence of foreign agents such as viruses and bacteria.

For SARS-Cov-2, researchers have identified HLA-B genetic mutation*15:01 as associated with fewer disease symptoms in patients. For simplicity, people become infected with the virus, but do not get sick.

Genetic mutation capable of detecting new variants of Covid

In addition, the benefit of HLA-B*15:01 is that immune cells canidentify new options Covid-19, even if they have never experienced it before. “If you have an army that can recognize the enemy early, this is a huge advantage., explains Jill Hollenbach, lead author of the study, in a press release. “It’s like having soldiers who are ready for battle and already know what to look for and who the bad guys are.” sums up the scientist.

The researchers also noticed that in patients carrying two copies of the HLA-B*15:01 mutation, eight times more likely to get asymptomatic Covid-19. On the other hand, 9% of people carrying the studied HLA-B*15:01 genetic mutation showed symptoms. In the end, this discovery may become a new basis for develop treatments and vaccines against Covid-19.

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