Corona – why some people don’t get sick

Different factors can affect the risk of infection and the course of COVID-19. In addition to the duration and type of contact, these can also be personal physical conditions. Which factors play a role?

Since the beginning of the  pandemic  , researchers have been concerned with the question of which personal factors can influence the risk of infection for people who have been exposed to corona viruses. What is known about this so far?

Existing gene mutations could reduce the risk of infection

A recent study examined genetic factors in over 736,000 people who were divided into two groups. People in one group have been shown to have previously been infected with  COVID-19  . The members of the other group lived with infected people, so they had close contact in terms of time and space, but did not contract COVID-19. In addition to the infection itself, the researchers also included in the study whether a person who tested positive had symptoms and, if so, how severe they were.

The result: those who did not contract the  coronavirus  or whose illnesses were very mild or asymptomatic were particularly likely to have certain gene mutations. These so-called point mutations affected immune genes as well as areas near blood group genes. In total, mutations were found in twelve gene regions.

It is not yet known how exactly these mutations work and why they could influence the infection or the course of the infection.

What is the effect of the blood group?

A potential influence of the  blood group  on the course of the disease and infection with COVID-19 has also been discussed for some time. Study results indicate that people with blood group A or AB tend to have a more severe course of the disease than people with blood group 0. This could also have an impact on the risk of infection.

The reason for these differences could be that certain antibodies and antigens differ slightly depending on the blood group.

Cross immunity – what is it?

Another explanation is the so-called cross-immunity. This can occur when the  body’s immune system  reacts to viruses from the same family – even if they are not exactly the same virus. This effect could play a role in infections with SARS-CoV-2.

The virus belongs to the corona virus family, some of which have been known for a long time and cause mild cold symptoms. Some protein sections of SARS-CoV-2 are similar to those of other corona viruses. In this way, T helper cells of the immune system, which are also part of the immunological memory, could recognize these sections in the event of an infection and react to them. The immune defense, which was originally built up against a cold virus, would then also be used against SARS-CoV-2, thus enabling a faster immune response.

This can ensure a milder course of the disease or even prevent the virus from spreading in the body at an early stage, so that there is no detectable infection.

General health remains important

In addition to the factors already mentioned, a person’s general health also plays an important role. In addition to previous illnesses such as  diabetes  and  high blood pressure , obesity, lack of exercise or smoking can contribute to a weakened immune system and a more severe course of the disease.

Basically, it is recommended to support the immune system through a healthy lifestyle with sufficient sleep, a balanced diet and regular exercise. Vaccination against COVID-19 has also been shown to help significantly reduce the risk of infection and a severe course of the disease.

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