The genetic profile of each COVID-19 patient combined with the genomic profile of the coronavirus is largely responsible for the huge differences in clinical symptoms observed between one person and another, according to genetics professor Emmanouil Dermitzakis, president of the National Council for Research in Technology and Innovation, Director of the Genome Center “Health 2030” and Professor of Genetics at the Medical School of the University of Geneva, in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) released on Monday.
“We have this knowledge from hepatitis, AIDS and many other infectious diseases. I am convinced that the same applies for COVID-19,” said the professor, noting that it was important to conduct genetic studies soon so that scientists can identify genetically vulnerable groups that, while they do not have underlying health issues, present negative clinical outcomes in this disease.
“There are many differential factors between patients, such as the initial viral load, which determines how long our immune system has to react before the symptoms fully develop,” Dermitzakis said. Regarding “next day” scenarios, he said that it was difficult to predict the future but stressed that Greece was doing very well.
“Provided there is a serious reduction in cases and deaths, then we can discuss easing the measures. From May, I believe that the measures will ease, but gradually, with a priority strategy,” he said.
“I believe that in July people will be able to more easily go to the seaside, and maybe even travel to the islands. But only provided that the progression of the disease is what we are seeing at the moment,” he added.
On the issue of immunity, he explained that it was too early for scientists to talk about it: “It will be an important part of research in the coming months, because the levels of immunity on an individual level, but also within the population, will determine the strategy until a drug or vaccine is found.”