Coronavirus, new thesis: Southern Italy protected by “genetic shield”


    <h2>A new thesis could explain why Southern Italy has been less affected than the North by the coronavirus pandemic</h2>


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    <p>To have protected the <strong>Southern Italy</strong> from<strong> coronavirus pandemic</strong> which so far has affected the <strong>Northern Italy</strong> it could have been one "<strong>genetic shield</strong>". As explained to 'Adnkronos Salute' by <strong>Antonio Giordano</strong>, among the authors of an article published in 'Frontiers Immunology', "<strong>the hypothesis is to be validated</strong> before drawing firm conclusions, but<strong> it is already founded on solid scientific foundations</strong>".

The paper, “an opinion that anticipates a very important work we are conducting on the topic”, is titled “Covid-19 and high mortality in Italy: let’s not forget genetic susceptibility”.

The idea is that among the key factors that would have helped to draw the map of the new coronavirus pandemic in Italy so clearly there is also “an interaction between DNA and the environment“.

According to Giordano, “the hypothesis is that there is a form of defense” printed in the “code of life”, “a protective genetic structure“Against the more serious effects of the pandemic pathogen,” which by numbers seems more widespread in the South than in the North “.

Founder and director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine of Philadelphia, professor of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Siena, Giordano also has a position in the scientific board of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, as delegate of the ministry of the Environment on the links between diseases and environmental injuries.

During the lockdown, Giordano attempted to analyze “le possible causes of the high rate of infection and mortality in Italy“, Collaborating with researchers from different sectors and signing this first article together with colleagues including Pierpaolo Correale is Rita Emilena Saladino of the Grand Metropolitan Hospital of Reggio Calabria, Giovanni Baglio of the Ministry of Health, Francesca Pentimalli of the Cancer Institute of Naples e Patrizia Maiorano of the University of Siena.

The authors described the main characteristics of the clinical course of Covid-19, the possible molecular mechanisms responsible for a worse patient outcome and the various therapeutic strategies that can be adopted to counteract the disease.

Their attention focused “on Hla system (human leukocyte antigen), which has a key role in shaping the innate and acquired antiviral immune response “.

The theory is that “a specific genetic structure, made up of particular variants of the Hla genes, could underlie the susceptibility to Sars-CoV-2 disease and its severity”.

For Luciano Mutti, oncologist and professor at the Temple University of Philadelphia, “the identification of these genetic determinants would be crucial to evaluate the priority levels in future vaccination campaigns, for the clinical management of patients and to isolate individuals at risk, including health workers “.

The study raised “another interesting possibility regarding the spread of the infection in Italy where the north of the country, where the disease was initially detected, was hit more severely. Although a massive migration from the epicenter regions to the south was recorded before the national blockade, the southern regions experienced much lower infection rates. ”

Among other things, “it was speculated that the virus was circulating long before the national lockdown”, so the idea is that something may have “helped” the inhabitants of Southern Italy.

“While some have proposed that milder climatic conditions could help prevent viral spread,” the authors wondered if “a specific genetic constitution can help protect citizens of the South. Further large-scale case-control studies could shed light on this possible aspect, “but” the solid foundations for thinking about it already exist, “assured Giordano. The expert specified: “We are increasing the number of cases to get to the final figure”.

To those who might object that many citizens of southern Italy have actually lived in the North for generations, the expert replied by recalling the existence of “complex interactions between genetics and the environment. We must also consider a number of important factors that we are examining, not least the possible role of pollution from fine particles “.

VIRGILIO NEWS | 28-05-2020 21:46

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