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We should be sequencing the genomes of coronavirus patients

I am sure by now we are all hoping to hear something non-coronavirus related. Sorry to disappoint, but Professors from Queen Mary University of London have suggested that we should be sequencing the genomes coronavirus patients to look for differences between patients who are severely affected and those with mild symptoms.

Professors Richard Buggs and Richard Alan Nichols wrote an article for The Conversation stating the importance of knowing if there are any key genetic variations shared by young people who appear to be healthy but develop severe symptoms from the coronavirus to be able to predict which healthcare workers are most at risk and remove them from the frontline.

Of course, it is not known whether any useful information will come from it, whether someone’s genetics will affect their symptoms of coronavirus. However, these are questions that could be answered relatively cheaply. It could be that only one or two genes are involved, or perhaps thousands of genes that are involved in lung physiology.

However, the importance of researching the genetic basis of susceptibility to the coronavirus should be done quickly without diverting resources from research into treatments and vaccines. If predictions could be made, it may be possible to protect thousands of lives before a vaccine is available.