Genetic mechanism behind why some kids fall suddenly, extremely ill

    Washington: Scientists have discovered details about the genetic predispositions of children who tended to fall ill suddenly and dramatically during the Covid pandemic.

    “The patients are sick not because of the virus,” said Jean-Laurent Casanova, a geneticist at Rockefeller University, US. “They’re sick because they excessively respond to the virus.”

    Rockefeller scientists and affiliates of the COVID Human Genetic Effort (CHGE) described how a trio of faulty genes fail to put the brakes on the immune system’s all-out assault on SARS-CoV-2, leading to the inflammatory overload characteristic of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.

    Children with MIS-C, who end up in the hospital, are characterised by inflamed hearts, lungs, kidneys, and brains, spiked temperatures, skin rashes, and abdominal pain.

    The CHGE is an international consortium of researchers seeking the human genetic and immunological bases of all the different ways a SARS-CoV-2 infection can manifest.
    The study said that the findings constituted the first mechanistic explanation of any Kawasaki disease and that they were reported in a paper published in the journal Science.

    According to the study, in February 2020, Casanova and his collaborators in the CHGE began searching for inborn errors, or genetic mutations, of immunity among healthy people who had severe forms of COVID. Among their targets were children with MIS-C, the study said.

    Casanova and his team assembled an ever-growing database of hundreds of fully sequenced genomes of COVID victims from hospitals across North America, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Oceania, and the Middle East, the study said.

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