A team of scientists say that there might be people out there who are genetically immune to COVID-19 — and they want to find and study them to potentially develop treatments for the disease.
The international team of researchers published a paper in the journal Nature Immunology on Monday proposing a “strategy for identifying, recruiting, and genetically analyzing individuals who are naturally resistant” to COVID.
Historically, scientists have often studied people who have natural immunities to viruses such as HIV to develop potential treatments. The latest attempts in the battle against the coronavirus are no different.
While little is known so far about those who are naturally immune to COVID specifically, the study’s authors note that there’s evidence that suggests that they are out there.
“[A] number of families have been reported in which all the members except one of the spouses are infected, suggesting that some highly exposed individuals may be resistant to infection with this virus,” the study reads.
To find these individuals, the study’s authors suggest implementing a systematized process to search, recruit, and study them. They’ll begin by focusing on finding uninfected members of households with people who have symptomatic COVID.
“We then consider individuals exposed to an index case without personal protection equipment, for at least 1 hour per day, and during the first 3-5 days of symptoms in the index case,” the paper said.
The potential candidate would then take a PCR and blood test for signs of the coronavirus after four weeks of exposure. If it comes up negative, the researchers postulate, the individual would be a good candidate for the study.
The team has already recruited more than 400 people who meet the criteria — but they’re looking for more. If you would like to see if you could potentially get involved, you can head to the website for the COVID Human Genetic Effort. Even if you’re not immune, you could sign up to volunteer in other ways too.
We know of at least one COVID immune person who could sign up.
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READ MORE: There May Be People Who Are Genetically Resistant to COVID-19, Scientists Say [ScienceAlert]