Covid 19 has infected millions of people across the country in the last two years. Even though we are all susceptible to the infection, our body behaves differently when we catch the infection. While one person does not even show any symptoms, the other person may get seriously ill with the virus. The biggest reason for this difference lies in the genetic factors, and most of us have derived the genetic risk variant from Neandertals.
Covid Genetic Risk Variant Reduces Hiv Risk By 27%
This is a common thing among millions of people. Even though this might seem like a disadvantage, researchers are now showing that there are certain advantages to this genetic risk variant. According to new studies, this variant that increases the risk for Covid 19 infection can, in fact, reduce the risk for HIV infection by nearly 27%.
Interestingly, people who were more likely to catch a covid infection had fewer chances of getting infected with HIV. HIV uses the CCR5 receptors to infect white blood cells in the body. People who carried the high-risk Covid genetic variant had less number of CCR5 receptors. In this way, the genetic risk factor that consists of many genes which encode receptors in the immune system may be helping the body to avoid HIV infection.
Experts are not sure about why this happens in the genes as HIV is a relatively new infection that was only identified in humans in the 20th century. On the other hand, the genetic risk variant for covid has existed for thousands of years. Further research is needed in this direction to understand why the body has fewer CCR5 receptors when the Covid genetic variant is dominant in the body.
Not every person has this high risk of catching a covid infection, even though this genetic variant is very common. It is estimated that millions of people have this genetic variant, and this probably explains the reason why covid has been able to infect millions of people across the world successfully.
During a covid infection, some people do not show any symptoms at all even though they have a good amount of viral load in the body. However, such people are not completely safe as they may still transmit the infection to other people. In fact, such people who do not show any symptoms are more likely to infect others when compared to those who are symptomatic. The reason is very simple, and people who do not show symptoms are usually not aware of the infection in many cases.
Due to this reason, they often move around freely and mingle with others in the community. The infection spreads from these people in a big way, and those who have weak immune systems get affected easily in this situation. On the other hand, when the person is having symptoms, he may not go out often, and this reduces the chances of infecting other people.
The Neandertal gene variants are common among millions of people, and it has existed since the ice age. This has several advantages for humans and disadvantages as well. Scientists are still not able to understand the complete details of these genetic variants as it works differently in different individuals. There are many other risk factors for developing covid apart from the genetic risk. Due to this reason, it is not possible to pinpoint the covid infection to this genetic variant.
As of now, this study has been able to show a clear link between the genetic variant for covid infection and HIV infection. While this increases the risk of catching a covid infection, it reduces the chances of HIV infection.