Making some individuals more vulnerable to new coronavirus infection is a defect in the production of type I interferons, proteins that help regulate the immune system’s activity against virus attacks. The discovery is based on the DNA analysis of over 700 patients with severe forms of the disease and indicates that in 3-4% of cases the severe forms depend on mutations that block the production of type I interferon, while in 10-11 % of the cases have been identified auto-antibodies, ie antibodies that attack the immune system to which they belong.
“The genes active in the defense mechanisms when mutated seem to favor the severity of the disease”, observes Novelli, co-author of the research. “This study – he added – shows that our genes can therefore influence the way in which the immune system responds. to an infection, and thus clarify why some people have more severe symptoms of the disease and direct a subgroup of patients towards targeted therapy “.