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Researchers from the University of Oxford have today reported new findings from a study exploring how certain genes can help generate a strong immune response following vaccination with two commonly used COVID-19 vaccines – identifying a particular gene associated with a high antibody response.

Artist's impression of a DNA molecule

In their findings published in Nature Medicine, the researchers found people carrying an allele (version) of an HLA gene called HLA-DQB1*06 generated a higher antibody response than those who did not.

The researchers also found that people carrying this gene (present in two out of every five people in the UK) were less likely to experience COVID-19 infection following vaccination than those who did not have it.

The HLA gene helps the immune system distinguish the body's own proteins from foreign ones made by the likes of viruses and bacteria.

The study provides some of the first evidence of a relationship between genetic factors and the way that people’s immune systems respond to COVID-19 vaccines, say the researchers.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

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