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Scientists at Oxford University have identified the gene responsible for doubling the risk of respiratory failure from COVID-19. Sixty percent of people with South Asian ancestry carry the high-risk genetic signal, partly explaining the excess deaths seen in some UK communities, and the impact of COVID-19 in the Indian subcontinent.

Coronavirus illustration

Previous work has already identified a stretch of DNA on chromosome 3 which doubled the risk of adults under 65 of dying from COVID. However, scientists did not know how this genetic signal worked to increase the risk, nor the exact genetic change that was responsible.

In a study published in Nature Genetics, a team lead by Professor James Davies and Professor Jim Hughes at the University of Oxford’s MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (Radcliffe Department of Medicine) used cutting edge technology to work out which gene was causing the effect, and how it was doing so.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

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