The new results show that people with a specific version of a gene are less likely to develop severe COVID-19. Earlier research had identified a specific group of genes, called the OAS1/2/3 gene cluster, as being involved in the risk for severe COVID-19.
One version of a gene in that cluster –passed down from Neanderthals, appeared to protect against serious disease, reducing risk by about 23%. Previous research was mostly done on people of European ancestory. Researchers are now seeing the same association of this genetic variant with less severe COVID-19 in people of African ancestory, according to a report published in Nature Genetics.
“The fact that people of African descent had the same protection allowed us to identify the only variant in DNA that actually protects against COVID19 infection. co-author dr. Jennifer Huffman said in a statement.
OAS genes are involved in a cascade of effects that help cells fight viruses, the researchers said. Understanding these genes and their impact on COVID19 risks could aid in the development of future drugs, they added.
Fewer Delta breakthroughs with Moderna vs Pfizer/BioNTech
When the delta variant coronavirus was widespread in the United States, recipients of two doses of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine (MRNA.O) were less likely to have breakthrough infection and were slightly less likely to be hospitalized than recipients of two doses of mRNA vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, found a large study.
The researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 637,000 vaccine recipients who had not previously been infected with the virus and had not received a booster shot.
As reported in JAMA on Thursday, advanced infections increased steadily each month from July through November 2021, with higher rates in the Pfizer/BioNTech group.
In November, there were 2.8 cases per thousand people vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech injections compared to 1.6 cases per thousand recipients of the Moderna vaccines.