There is a gene in the human body known as OAS1, which determines how severe the disease will be when a person is infected with Covid-19. This is stated in a study by scientists from the Center for Viral Research at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, whose findings were published in the Science magazine.
“It is important to note that in hospitalized patients, the expression of prenylated OAS1 was associated with protection against heavy Covid-19, suggesting that this antiviral protection is a major component of the protective antiviral response,” the study said.
The researchers came to this conclusion by studying the genomes of 499 people hospitalized with coronavirus.
According to researchers, the OAS1 gene produces one type of protein in the body that is able to effectively recognize the SARS-CoV-2 virus and prevent severe disease. The OAS1 gene triggers a cycle of processes that activate ribonuclease L. This enzyme destroys viruses that have entered the cell and stimulates immune responses to fight infection.
OAS1 contains “instructions” for cells, which can be selected from one of the two isoforms of the protein that recognizes viruses and triggers an immune response - short p42 or long p46. Only the latter is effective against the coronavirus that caused the pandemic, because it attaches a special group of molecules that facilitates the interaction of protein with cell membranes.
In 212 of the participants in the experiment, the bodies did not produce p46, and among this group the risk of death and resuscitation was more than 1.5 times higher than in the other. A variant of the gene responsible for the production of the p46 isoform, which recognizes well the elements of the coronavirus structure, is not found in all people.
In addition, scientists warn of the possibility of new mutations in the coronavirus, which will bypass the immune defenses produced by the body due to this gene.
As it was reported earlier, top US infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci hopes Covid-19 pandemic will be over by spring but there's 'no such guarantee' with the development of the Delta variant.
Either way, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla suggested that society will be able to return to normal life after the pandemic within a year.