Genes that amplify illness ‘discovered’

Genes that amplify illness ‘discovered’


Melbourne: Researchers in Australia have discovered what they claim is a certain gene combination which can amplify illness in people.

According to them, people with the genes are not only vulnerable to illness but are eight times more likely to suffer from a severe and prolonged illness whenever they have an infection.

In fact, this group of people is significantly more likely to have an intense illness during the acute stage of an infection -- when fever, aches and pain strike -- to signal the start of the body’s immune response.

Conversely, the researchers at University of New South Wales found some people with another gene combination which made them particularly hardy, with a less severe illness, the ‘Clinical Infectious Diseases´ journal reported.

The researchers have based their findings on an analysis of a group of 300 people of a similar age and ethnic background who were enrolled in an experiment after being diagnosed with acute glandular fever.

Of those 300, almost 28% (83 people) had the genetic predisposition to having a more severe and prolonged illness, the researchers found.

‘It is widely acknowledged that individuals differ a great deal in their acute sickness response to an infection. We are starting to understand why and how genetic combinations play an important role",said lead researcher Dr Vollmer-Conna .

“Some people will experience more severe symptoms than others when they are acutely sick with the same infection because their body’s response is more intense which in turn is due to their genetic make-up. This group in the population were found to spend twice as many days in bed during the acute illness," said Dr Vollmer-Conna.