All our lives completely changed when the most recent worldwide pandemic hit. With this, scientists have done all they can to learn everything about COVID-19. This includes how your genes play a role on your risk for developing it.
COVID-19 forms part of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus family. Most of us hadn’t heard the word coronavirus until late 2019 and 2020. However, the SARS-associated coronavirus first emerged in 2003. SARS is an airborne virus that spreads via droplets, in a similar way that the common cold and flu does. The 2019-2020 COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in millions of infections and unfortunately millions of deaths. This has prompted scientists to conduct as much research as they possibly can into understanding COVID-19 risk factors.
One of these research topics includes how variations of the ACE2 gene can increase your risk for developing SARS infections. ACE2, or angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, is a gene that has previously associated with numerous genetic traits such as an increased risk of high blood pressure and salt sensitivity. This gene is expressed in the lungs, heart and kidneys; and plays a role in controlling your blood pressure. ACE2 specifically functions to breakdown angiotensin II, which increases your blood pressure and may increase inflammation.
If you are exposed to and become infected by a SARS virus, the virus binds to the ACE2 genes in the body. This prevents ACE2 from performing its normal function, resulting in an increase in blood pressure and inflammation. While we all have the ACE2 gene, some individuals have more ACE2 expressed in their bodies compared to others. This makes some people more susceptible to contracting SARS infections and possibly experiencing more pronounced symptoms of the virus.
While it feels like COVID-19 has come to an end, the virus is still around us and therefore, we should still be very careful. To know about your risk from SARS and COVID-19 infections, make the better choice and choose to do ImmuwellgxTM+ test today!
SMJ. (n.d.). COVID-19 resources from Africa and beyond. Retrieved from South Sudan Medical Journal: http://www.southsudanmedicaljournal.com/archive/may-2020/covid-19-resources-from-africa-and-beyond.html