Patterico's Pontifications

4/27/2020

New Study Indicates Likelihood of Getting COVID-19 “Is Under Some Genetic Control”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:09 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Here’s how the study worked:

Symptoms of Covid-19 appear to be partly down to genetic makeup, researchers at King’s College London have discovered.

The finding is based on data collected through the Covid-19 Symptom Tracker app, launched by the team last month.

The team also asked thousands of twins in the UK…to use the app and record whether they had symptoms or not. The team employed machine-learning algorithms, together with data from the 2.7 million app users – many of whom have been tested for coronavirus – to work out the combination of symptoms that indicate an individual is likely to have Covid-19.

The team then focused on data from just over 2,600 twins to try to establish whether the symptoms experienced by those predicted to have Covid-19 was related to genetic makeup.

“The idea was to basically look at the similarities in symptoms or non-symptoms between the identical twins, who share 100% of their genes, and the non-identical twins, who only share half of their genes,” Prof Tim Spector, one of the scientists leading the endeavour, told the Guardian. “If there is a genetic factor in expressing the symptoms then we’d see a greater similarity in the identical [twins] than the non-identical [twins] and that is basically what we showed.”

External factors, such as whether the twins resided in the same home, were taken into account. The results reavealed that:

…genetic factors explained about 50% of the differences between people’s symptoms of Covid-19.

More specifically, the team found a substantial genetic influence for the symptoms of fever, diarrhoea, delirium, and losses of taste and smell. By contrast, a hoarse voice, a cough, skipped meals, chest pain, and abdominal pain were not linked to genetic makeup.

Summation:

“This disease is very weird, the way it has a very different presentation in the population in different people – what we are showing is that isn’t random,” Spector said. “It is not mainly due to where you live or who you have seen; a lot of it is something innate about you.

“I think you can say that your likelihood of getting it at all, or getting it severely, is under some genetic control.”

The report goes on to say that the findings could help researchers learn about the mechanisms by “which Covid-19 acts on the body,” as well as possibly providing a way to know who might be most at risk for the disease.

Note: The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Interestingly, a set of identical twins died just days ago from coronavirus:

Children’s nurse Katy Davis, 37, died at Southampton General Hospital on Tuesday.

Identical twin Emma, herself a former nurse, died at the same hospital early on Friday.

Their sister, Zoe, said: “They always said they had come into the world together and would go out together as well.”

She said the “amazing” pair, who lived together, had other health conditions and had been unwell for some time.

I am unable to locate exactly what their underlying health issues were, and if they were the same ones.

–Dana

55 Responses to “New Study Indicates Likelihood of Getting COVID-19 “Is Under Some Genetic Control””

  1. This is a reminder to me that there is so much more that is unknown than known, not just with medicine in general, but specifically with COVID-19. With that, I will once again join the chorus of encouraging everyone to listen to Microbe TV podcasts, which is an excellent learning tool. It’s very engaging, illuminating, challenging, and the experts are never without something insightful to share re COVID-19. Shout out to Simon Jester.

    Dana (0feb77)

  2. It makes sense. It explains all the asymptomatics.

    Paul Montagu (b3f51b)

  3. Aja Asia

    Up on the Hill
    Got nothing upstairs
    They just don’t care
    Chinese markets sell the strangest stuff
    Pangolins, bats and Shar Pei muff
    Asia
    When all my sick pukin’ is through
    I’ll run from you

    Up on the Hill
    They’ve got time to burn
    There’s no return
    Toilet paper’s good as gold tonight
    Hand out the face masks
    Let’s do it right
    Asia
    When all my lung burnin’ is through
    I’ll run from you

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  4. Very interesting, thank you for posting this Dana. I had not seen it mentioned elsewhere. True, Paul, this would provide some explanation for the variation.

    Colliente (05736f)

  5. It would, indeed, Paul and Colliente. I look forward to a further exploration of this finding. I would also like to know if the twin nurses shared the same underlying health conditions, and what they were. Were they both immunocompromised? Had they suffered lasting effects of a previous disease?

    Dana (0feb77)

  6. @1. Wondering if/when– if ever, it eventually mutates into a benign bug.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  7. This is fascinating. I’ve been following the Iran aspects since those stories about mass graves visible from space.

    https://www.mei.edu/publications/covid-19-hitting-irans-minorities-harder

    This article like a few others seem to validate the notion there’s a genetic component to COVID’s effectiveness. Are there any other colds that work that way?

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  8. Has the lockdown killed 57k Americans in 2 months?

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  9. I dont disagree with that at all, Gryph. But some wisenheimers could recycle the Bill OReilly quote of a few weeks ago (“on their last legs, anyway”) with regard to –“ooh, Stage 3 instead of Stage 4, borderline Diabetes instead of full blown Diabetes, kidney stone instead of kidney failure”–. It does infuriate that those chances to catch something early have been lost.

    urbanleftbehind (0a0101)

  10. Great link Gryph. I think the costs and benefits of the lockdowns were both high. It’s interesting how we see risk and discuss it.

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  11. 4. Colliente (05736f) — 4/27/2020 @ 5:49 pm

    I had not seen it mentioned elsewhere. True, Paul, this would provide some explanation for the variation.

    I read, and even mentioned here, that some thought that the lower death rate among women could possibly be explained by the fact that women have 2 (different) X chromosomes, while men have only one.

    https://nypost.com/2020/04/04/why-women-are-better-than-men-at-beating-the-coronavirus

    Both of a female’s X chromosomes are present in all her cells. But within each cell, only one of the X’s calls the shots. Half of a woman’s cells are dominated by the X chromosome that came from her mother, half by the X contributed by her father.

    “That genetic diversity is really valuable,” Moalem explained. “One of the immune system’s most important weapons is the ability to recognize a virus. Well, genes on the X chromosome are involved in viral recognition. Right away, women have two different populations of immune cells that are best at spotting invaders.

    “Meanwhile, maybe the other X has a gene that’s very good at identifying and killing infected cells,” he said. “So women’s immune cells function like a tactical unit. They specialize, then they interact and cooperate to fight the invaders….

    …It gets worse for men in the age of COVID-19: The new coronavirus takes direct aim at their single-X vulnerability.

    “What we researchers are seeing right now is the way this coronavirus gets into our lung cells,” Moalem said. “It has a key: a spike protein we think it uses to break in. And the lock it picks to enter is called ACE2” — an enzyme attached to the outer surface of the cell membrane.

    “The gene that makes ACE2 is on the X chromosome,” he continued. “So if the coronavirus has the right key, it can unlock every one of a male’s lung cells. But females have two X’s — so half of their lung cells use one ACE2 lock, and the other half use a slightly different ACE2 lock. The chance that the virus has the perfect key to unlock both of them is not great. So that’s another enormous advantage for females…

    Sammy Finkelman (d530d0)

  12. Don’t lose of the fact that if there were no lockdown, doctors and hospitals would be at least as focused on COVID19, at least as plagued by lack of PPE and other supply chain issues, as they are right now, and people would be at least as hesitant to get medical help because of the risk of catching COVID19, as they are now. Probably more, because of the greater number of cases that would result from no lockdown.

    And most doctors and medical facilities are open for those that need medical attention. Elective surgery mat be restricted, but the definition of elective surgery is surgery that can wait to be performed.

    Kishnevi (c2a547)

  13. Kansas poison control report a 40% increase in ingested disinfectant.

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  14. 14. Dustin (e5f6c3) — 4/27/2020 @ 7:38 pm

    Kansas poison control report a 40% increase in ingested disinfectant.

    Just since last Thursday night?

    Or since they started telling people to disinfect places?

    I couldn’t find that statistic on the web site you linked to (to see what that statistic actually said)

    Sammy Finkelman (d530d0)

  15. The longer this goes on the more we learn. Kind of, as it should be. Anything, like this, should be further investigated. Imagine if a simple genetic test could tell if you are at risk, what the ramifications of that would be on the state of re-opening the country, nay, the world.

    Colliente (05736f)

  16. Dustin, I saw nothing at that link about ingested disinfectants.

    Kishnevi (c2a547)

  17. LOL, Dustin at 14. What is that, 7 people instead of the normal 5? And they ingested it, shouldn’t they have injected it, or even better, inhaled it. You know, somewhere around half of all people are below average intelligence…The smarter ones would be inhaling.

    Colliente (05736f)

  18. forgot my sarc tag

    Colliente (05736f)

  19. I linked the wrong URL, Kishnevi.

    Colliente’s point (about how we don’t know what 40% really means in terms of actual numbers) is great.

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  20. forgot my sarc tag

    A lot of that going around lately!

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  21. Re #16 – Colliente, domestically, that alters the landscape with regard to pre-existing condition(s), and in turn health insurance, disability SSI and UBI.

    urbanleftbehind (0a0101)

  22. I would be cautious about scientific results like this being published in the lay media.

    Peer review is important, but is only the start. Replication (i.e. independent studies showing substantially the same results) is also necessary before claims like this should be considered established.

    Dave (1bb933)

  23. Corona-related, but otherwise off-topic:

    ICYMI: Miley Cyrus performed Wish You Were Here from home on SNL last weekend.

    Andrew Watt, her accompanist, had a moderately bad case of the disease in March. He’s 29.

    Dave (1bb933)

  24. Not terribly surprising. If a receptor the virus needs to attach to is missing, that will confer resistance or outright immunity.

    In college, I recall reading that the mutation rate due to radiation damage was under genetic control, and people who lived in areas with a high natural background level had the same mutation rate as people who lived in areas with a lower level. The body cranked up the repair mechanisms to deal with the higher radiation levels. (Of course, gene repair mechanisms have a price — energy and resources diverted from other functions, which is why repair mechanisms don’t get cranked to ensure absolute perfect fidelity during replication.)

    Karl Lembke (9a3542)

  25. Thank you for your comment, Karl. Please stick around.

    felipe (023cc9)

  26. 21. That artcle looks possibly very carefully written, or the statements in it are very carefully phrased, to imply something that it doesn;t say and that isn;t rue.

    1) Up 40% since when?

    2) They have one example over the weekend (that is after what Trump said) And that example does
    NOT say the “advice” he followed came from Trump, either directly or indirectly.

    It doesnt even say what the advice as or what exactly he ingested.

    It happens to be that there’s something circulating over the Internet about taking some chemical
    that has chlorine in it to protect against the virus. (now this might not be totally independent of Trump’s political allies – I only read a reference to it – but it might also be sponsored by Russia or anyone.)

    It could be that they might know it doesn’t have anything to do with what Trump said last Thursday ad the whole press conference in Kansas was deliberately misleading spin to try to get people to follow their authority.

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)

  27. Dave (1bb933) — 4/27/2020 @ 11:28 pm

    Peer review is important, but is only the start. Replication (i.e. independent studies showing substantially the same results) is also necessary before claims like this should be considered established.

    Peer review does nothing against fraud, and enables people asserting other theories to suppress and delay the recognition of truth using trivial and inapplicable reasons. This is something that people especially cannot afford during an epidemic.

    Most scientific studies published are wrong: John Ioannidis.

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)

  28. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/us/coronavirus-nursing-homes.html

    ….Hospitals, seeking to keep costs down, send more vulnerable patients into a growing industry of nursing homes. Even before the pandemic, 380,000 people died each year from infection at long-term care facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)

  29. I’m sure this will make some people happy (I’m not one of them).
    https://wgntv.com/news/coronavirus/judge-rules-against-pritzkers-extension-of-stay-at-home-order/

    KenL (6340ff)

  30. The order applies only to the sh!tkicker who sued.

    nk (1d9030)

  31. Then go tell Kanye West his next Sunday Service can be May 3, in unincorporated Clay County. Let’s see how fast they change their mind.

    urbanleftbehind (c00fe4)

  32. It happens to be that there’s something circulating over the Internet about taking some chemical
    that has chlorine in it to protect against the virus. (now this might not be totally independent of Trump’s political allies – I only read a reference to it – but it might also be sponsored by Russia or anyone.)

    Sammy, that’s a good point. I don’t think it’s Russian propaganda. I think the anti-vaccination movement has a lot of odd beliefs about essential oils, crystals, and using small amounts of bleach on sick children. These guys are paranoid. A lot of them like Trump so I do wonder if the reason Trump’s comments overlap with their so often is because he just surfs the internet reading his fans, believing crazy stuff.

    1) Up 40% since when?

    2) They have one example over the weekend (that is after what Trump said) And that example does
    NOT say the “advice” he followed came from Trump, either directly or indirectly.

    Right right, who knows? Trump’s fans will never blame him for anything. If this increase is real it will be reflected in many red states soon enough. I know it seems idiotic to drink fish tank cleaner or bleach, but the presidency has tremendous credibility. Imagine the good someone could do with the bully pulpit! Trump is entitled to stupid questions, but national TV is an irresponsible, selfish place to ask them.

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  33. A question to Trump supporters. Seriously: Why hasn’t President Trump used his “absolute authority” to re-open the states, instead of merely egging on his neo-Nazi d**kwads to stage phony protests?

    nk (1d9030)

  34. At least 40,000 more people have died during the coronavirus pandemic over the last month than the official Covid-19 death counts report, a review of mortality data in 12 countries shows — providing a clearer, if still incomplete, picture of the toll of the crisis.–NYT

    The death toll from coronavirus may be almost 60 per cent higher than reported in official counts, according to an FT analysis of overall fatalities during the pandemic in 14 countries.

    Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across these locations, considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods.—Fin. Times

    So much uncertainty. So much conflicting information. So much stinking politicization.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  35. Beware this subset of neo-naxi dickwads and get some sensors or hand symbols for the real nurses … makes me appreciate Sinemax and the dog lover that much more:

    http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/494901-arizona-gop-chair-tells-those-protesting-coronavirus-lockdown-to-dress

    urbanleftbehind (c00fe4)

  36. Why hasn’t President Trump used his “absolute authority” to re-open the states,

    He wants to be seen as very powerful and omnicompetent, but he doesn’t want to be held accountable for any untoward consequences.

    Radegunda (0d1d1e)

  37. Fox News Poll: Biden tops Trump in Michigan, where Gov. Whitmer is more popular than president
    Majorities of Michigan voters are concerned about coronavirus, think President Trump was too slow reacting to it, and favor waiting to reopen the economy. That contributes to Joe Biden leading the presidential race in a Fox News Poll of Michigan registered voters released Wednesday.

    Biden’s 8-point advantage over Trump, 49-41 percent, is slightly larger than the poll’s margin of sampling error. However, both candidates remain below 50 percent and 10 percent of voters are still up for grabs.

    Trump is preferred among white men (+17 points), white evangelical Christians (+51), and whites without a college degree (+8). In 2016, he won whites without a degree by 31 points.

    The former vice president owes his lead to women (+20 points), non-whites (+63), and voters over age 65 (+19).

    CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS

    Party loyalty also helps Biden, as 91 percent of Democrats back him compared to 85 percent of Republicans supporting Trump.

    But likeability could be the key. By a 10-point margin, more have a favorable (53 percent) than unfavorable (43 percent) opinion of Biden. Views of Trump are net negative by 8 points (44 favorable, 52 unfavorable).
    …….
    On handling coronavirus, Whitmer’s job approval is 19 points higher than Trump’s (64 percent vs. 45 percent).
    >>>>>>>>

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  38. Arizona GOP chair encourages anti-stay-at-home protesters to dress like health care workers
    The chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party is encouraging people planning to protest stay-at-home orders imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic to dress like health care workers.

    Recently, several health care workers around the country have worn their scrubs and medical gear to counterprotest against people calling for states to reopen against the urgings of medical experts.

    Dr. Kelli Ward, a former state senator and primary care physician, tweeted on Friday that people participating in protests to end the government-imposed closures of regular business should wear scrubs and masks.

    “Planning protest to #ReOpenAmerica? EVERYONE wear scrubs & masks – the media doesn’t care if you are really in healthcare or not – it’s the ‘message’ that matters,” she wrote.
    ……..
    “EVEN IF these ‘spontaneously’ appearing ppl at protests against govt overreach (sporting the same outfits, postures, & facial expressions) ARE involved in healthcare – when they appeared at rallies, they were actors playing parts #Propaganda #FakeOutrage,” Ward tweeted last week.
    >>>>>>>>

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  39. Not terribly surprising. If a receptor the virus needs to attach to is missing, that will confer resistance or outright immunity.

    If the ACE2 receptor is missing, you are already dead.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  40. Fox News Poll: Biden tops Trump in Michigan, where Gov. Whitmer is more popular than president

    A serious independent would stomp the bejeezus out of both of them. Look what Perot did to MUCH more qualified candidates. Maybe only a fool would want the job.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  41. There could be slightly different ACE2 receptor.

    About 1% of the population of European descent lacks a receptor for the Black Death.

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)

  42. So much stinking politicization.

    They would politicize Wednesday if they could.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  43. [Bill Bryan, Under Secretary for Science and Technology at DHS] continued by noting that DHS also tested if certain types of disinfectant could kill the coronavirus.

    “We’ve tested bleach, we’ve tested isopropyl alcohol on the virus, specifically in saliva or in respiratory fluids, and I can tell you that bleach will kill the virus in five minutes,” Bryan said. “Isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds, and that’s with no manipulation, no rubbing. Just bring it on and leaving it go. You rub it and it goes away even faster.”…

    Immediately following these remarks is where Trump states, “So, I’m going to ask Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposing when we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see, but the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute. That’s pretty powerful.”

    A few moments later, ABC News reporter Jon Karl asked Bryan, “The president mentioned the idea of a cleaner, bleach and isopropyl alcohol emerging. There’s no scenario where that could be injected into a person, is there?”

    “No, I’m here to talk about the finds that we had in the study,” Bryan responded. “We don’t do that within that lab at our labs.”

    Trump then clarified his remarks: “It wouldn’t be through injections, you’re talking about almost a cleaning and sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work, but it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object.”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  44. Gov. Greg Abbott to let restaurants, movie theaters and malls open with limited capacity Friday

    Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that he will let the state’s stay-at-home order expire Thursday as scheduled and allow businesses to begin reopening in phases the next day, the latest ramp-up in his push to restart the Texas economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    First to open Friday: retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls. But they will only be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. Museums and libraries will also be allowed to open at 25% capacity, but hands-on exhibits must remain closed.
    ……..
    Abbott said his new order “supersedes all local orders” saying those businesses must remain closed. He also said his order overrules any local government that wants to impose a fine or penalty for not wearing a mask — something the latest statewide rules encourage but do not mandate.

    Abbott stressed that his order “gives permission to reopen, not a requirement,” and businesses can stay shuttered if they would like.
    >>>>>>>>

    He should have the courage of his convictions and mandate that businesses open. If a government can force a business shutdown, it should be able to require businesses to open.

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  45. One word: Newsom

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  46. POLITICO’s reporting on President Trump and the Bank of China-Editor’s Note

    POLITICO published an article Friday morning on President Donald Trump’s business dealings with China. (“Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China – and the loan is due soon.”) Since then, new reporting and information have led us to update and correct the article after publication.
    ……
    On Friday evening, POLITICO received a statement from a representative for Bank of China USA, which had not been contacted beforehand, that the bank had sold off, or securitized, its debt shortly after the 2012 deal. A spokeswoman said the bank has no current financial interest in any Trump Organization properties. We updated the body of the article to take account of the bank’s statement. The original headline was changed to “Trump owed tens of millions to the Bank of China.”
    ……
    POLITICO attempted to reach other parties to the refinancing throughout the weekend and Monday. Wells Fargo on Monday confirmed the Bank of China’s statement that it had been listed as a creditor on the building in error. Bank of China said Wells Fargo is taking steps to correct the record with an updated filing.
    ……
    Our commitment at POLITICO is to journalism that gets its facts straight. We regret we fell short in this case.

    Oops.

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  47. Although Covid-19 has lockeddown everyn thing to thier homes peoples are worries due to several reasons and one of them is they could’nt went their kids outside to learn Quran. In this intense condition you should learn Quran Online. Many Online Quran Tutors offers Online Quran Teaching Services so you just have to hire an online Quran tutor and you can teach Quran to your kids even at staying at your homes even in Covid-19.

    Mishary Alafasy (a425aa)

  48. What is that… 126th failed ACME Co. President Removal product?

    Poor coyote…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  49. What businesses are ever required to be open in Texas? Steak restaurants?

    nk (1d9030)

  50. The immune system is complex and diverse throughout the population as part of its functionality. If we all had identical immune systems, then sooner or later some bug would come along that exploits a flaw in that system and kill everybody. You and I are here because we are the descendants of the outliers who didn’t succumb to measles, TB, etc. Much of our genome is dedicated to keeping us from dying from bugs of all types. The cost for this robustness conferred by diversity is that a somewhat novel pathogen will kill a portion of the population.

    Fred (fc56b3)

  51. Fred (fc56b3) — 4/28/2020 @ 10:46 am

    The cost for this robustness conferred by diversity is that a somewhat novel pathogen will kill a portion of the population.

    It increases the possibility it will kill a portion of the population, while pretty much eliminating the possibiliy it will kill all.

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)

  52. What businesses are ever required to be open in Texas? Steak restaurants?
    It’s called sarcasm. But if any governor has the power to close a business, and they feel it is safe to reopen, why shouldn’t require business owners to open?

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)


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