Isolated populations in India are vulnerable to Covid-19: Researchers | India News


HYDERABAD: Scientists from the Center for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics here and Hindu University of Banaras (BHU) have found that several isolated indigenous peoples, such as the Andaman Islanders, with long (homozygous) DNA segments in their genome, are more likely to be more susceptible to COVID-19.
A press release from the CSIR-Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) said that coronavirus infection (SARS-CoV-2) has impacted various ethnic groups around the world and recent studies suggested that indigenous groups in Brazil have been massively affected by Covid-19.
Research carried out by Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Director of CDFD, part of CCMB, here, Professor Gyaneshwer Chaubey from BHU and others was recently published online in the journal Genes and Immunity.
Thangaraj, who traced the origin of the Andaman Islanders, said: “We have investigated high-density genomic data from more than 1,600 individuals from 227 ethnic populations. We found a high frequency of contiguous lengths of homozygous genes among Onge, Jarawa (Andaman tribes ). and some other populations that are isolated and undergo strict inbreeding, which makes them highly susceptible to COVID-19 contagion“.
Researchers have also evaluated ACE2 (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2) gene variants that make individuals susceptible to Covid-19. They found that the Jarawa and Onge populations have a high frequency of these mutations, according to the statement.
“There has been some speculation about the effect of Covid-19 among isolated populations. However, for the first time, we have used genomic data to access the risk of Covid-19 in small, isolated populations, ”said Professor Chaubey.
The results obtained from this study suggest that there is a need for high-priority protection and maximum care of isolated populations, so that some of the living treasures of modern human evolution are not lost ”, Vinay Kumar Nandicoori, director, CCMB said.

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