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Genetic Linkage

A lucky segment of the population is genetically immune to the COVID virus. What can we learn from them?

In March 2020, Eleanor A. had been sick for several days. Thinking it might be the new respiratory illness going around, she called her internist, who sent her for a COVID-19 test. She was positive. "Results didn't come back for six days, and Jesse and I shared a bed and bathroom during that wait time," she recalled. Both are in their 80s. 


Eleanor's case was harrowing, but fortunately she didn't need to be hospitalized. "I experienced overwhelming fatigue for much of the next ten days. I slept a lot. One night I got up and felt disoriented, hot and cold at the same time, and very unstable. I thought I wouldn't make it to the bathroom or back to bed. I kept calling for Jesse, but he was sound asleep and never heard me."


Fatigue and shortness of breath persisted. Scans revealed lung scarring, but Eleanor slowly recovered.


Through it all, Jesse never had a sniffle, cough, throat scratch or fatigue. Although he'd been beside his wife as the virus invaded her body for days, he never got sick. Later, his blood showed no antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID. That meant that unlike people who are infected but then shake off the virus without getting sick, Jesse wasn't infected in the first place.


To continue reading, please go to Genetic Literacy Project, where this post first appeared. 

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