Study Links Key Gene to Protection from Severe Illness and Death from Covid Infections in Men Under Age 75

A certain variant of a key anti-inflammatory gene protects men under age 75 from severe illness and death when hospitalized from Covid-19, a genetic analysis of their blood shows. According to the study authors, the protective gene in question, an interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL1RN) variant, appears to tamp down inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s normal reaction to infection, but when unchecked, inflammation can go too far and damage tissues as part of many diseases, including in severe cases of infection with the pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2.  Published as a “major article” in The Journal of Infectious Diseases online March 13, 2024, the study showed that 124 men between the ages of 19 and 74 who possessed the IL1RN variant, called rs419598, were less likely to become severely ill after hospitalization for Covid-19, and 80% less likely to die from the disease. The open-access article is titled “Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Gene (IL1RN) Variants Modulate the Cytokine Release Syndrome and Mortality of COVID-19.”

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