Tue, 15 Jun 2021

By Shalini BhardwajNew Delhi [India], June 11 (ANI): An international study has revealed that genetic variants responsible for Covid-19 severity among Europeans may not play a role in susceptibility of the spread of novel coronavirus infection among South Asians.

This contradicts an earlier study carried out by a team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute in Germany that suggested variation in a specific DNA segment is strongly associated with severe Covid-19 infection and hospitalisation.

This DNA segment is present in 50 per cent of South Asians as compared to 16 per cent of Europeans, it said.

The latest study was led by Dr Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Director, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and Chief Scientist, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and Prof Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

This finding has been published in the journal Scientific Reports, published by Nature.

"In this study, we have compared infection and case fatality rates with South Asian genomic data over three different timelines during the pandemic. We have especially looked into a large number of populations from India and Bangladesh", said Dr Kumarasamy Thangaraj.

"Our result reiterates the unique genetic origin of South Asian populations. A dedicated Genome-wide Association Study on South Asian Covid-19 patients is the need of time for us in the Asian sub-continent", said Prajival Pratap Singh, first author of this study.

According to the study, genetic variants correlated with Covid-19 outcomes differ significantly among the caste and tribal populations of Bangladesh.

"Scientists working in the area of population studies should be more cautious to interpret their findings by differentiating caste and tribal populations, more explicitly so in the Bangladeshi population", said Prof George van Driem a renowned linguist and co-author of the study.

"With growing data, it is becoming quite clear that there are several factors including genetics, immunity and lifestyle which contribute for COVID-19 susceptibility. CCMB's expertise in population studies are proving useful in understanding these details of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic", said Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CCMB. (ANI)

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