Now the answers to these questions could be found at Poole Hospital where the first patients have been recruited to take part in a new ground-breaking national COVID-19 study.
Three patients have so far been put forward for the study, which may help explain why some patients with COVID-19 experience a mild infection, others require intensive care and why for some it is sadly fatal. By discovering why some people are predisposed to developing life-threatening symptoms, the initiative will enable insights into the virus, as well as possible human factors that influence the effects of the disease, and whether a combination of both shape outcomes for NHS patients.
The research is being undertaken by a partnership between the GenOMICC Study Consortium (led by the University of Edinburgh) and Genomics England.
Participating patients provide a sample of DNA and must have been admitted to intensive care to be part of the study to find out how genetics make some people more susceptible to serious illness than others.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s GenOMICC project will work together with Genomics England and over 170 NHS hospitals including Poole Hospital. The study aims to sequence the genomes of 20,000 people who are severely ill with COVID-19 and 2,000 patients have been recruited to the GenOMICC study already.
The data collected by Poole Hospital and others will be compared to that from a further 15,000 COVID-19 patients who experienced only mild symptoms. This data will be collected from participants in the 100,000 Genomes Project and UK Biobank.
Beverley Wadams, senior research nurse at Poole Hospital said, “GenOMICC is an invaluable piece of research which will help us better understand whether genetics can help to answer why some patients are more vulnerable,.
“We are incredibly grateful to the patients who have contributed samples to this important study and it would be phenomenal to be able to include as many people as possible who have been in intensive care here at Poole Hospital with COVID-19.”
Dr Kenneth Baillie, Chief Investigator on the GenOMICC study, said, “Our genes play a role in determining who becomes desperately sick with infections like COVID-19. Understanding these genes will help us to choose treatments for clinical trials.
“The GenOMICC study has been running since 2016, and has been investigating genetic factors that impact how patients fare in response to a number of severe illnesses. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, and with the tremendous support of the UK critical care community, the study has expanded and accelerated enormously, and we are now recruiting in over 170 ICUs across the country.”
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