About the GenOMICC COVID-19 study
What is the study?
Genomics England and the University of Edinburgh, as part of the GenOMICC consortium, are analysing the whole genome sequences of approximately 20,000 people who have been severely affected by COVID-19 and 15,000 people who had mild symptoms, or were completely asymptomatic.
This study aims to find out whether people’s genetics affect their experience of COVID-19, and this is especially important in light of new research that has shown the disparities in COVID-19 symptoms across different demographics.
See our full press release on the study’s announcement.
A genome is the body’s instruction manual and contains all the information needed to make you, run you and repair you. You have a copy in almost all the 37 trillion cells in your body. It’s unique to you and you inherit it from your parents. It’s made of DNA and is written in DNA’s special code. Each one of the 3 billion letters in a genome can be read using a technique called sequencing.
WHY DO WE THINK THE ANSWER LIES IN OUR DNA?
We already know that if one of our parents died from an infection, it makes us six times more likely to become severely ill if we were to also be infected. We also know instructions for our body’s defence systems are a very important part of our genomes. There are many other clues as to the involvement of DNA. For instance, we know that those with blood types in the A group have a higher risk of severe COVID-19. Blood groups are inherited.
So we are trying to spot differences between people in their individual DNA sequence. These differences may be important in how COVID-19 affects people, and we’re looking for the ones involved in severe COVID-19. These will be found throughout the entire UK population.
If we find these differences between people in their individual DNA sequences, we can protect those that have them and hopefully give them better and more effective treatments too.
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