“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”, he observes Giordano. Founder and director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine of Philadelphia, professor of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Siena, the expert also boasts a position in the scientific board of the Higher Institute of Health, as delegate of the ministry of the Environment on the links between diseases and environmental injuries. During the lockdown Giordano tried to analyze “the 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 and Reng Emilena Saladin of the Grand Metropolitan Hospital of Reggio Calabria, Giovanni Baglio of the Ministry of Health e Francesca Pentimalli of the Cancer Institute of Naples. The authors describe the main characteristics of the Covid 19 clinical course, the possible molecular mechanisms responsible for a worse outcome for patients, and the various therapeutic strategies that can be adopted to counteract the pathology and its complications. And they point the finger particularly “at the Hla system (human leukocyte antigen), which has a key role in shaping the antiviral immune response, both innate and acquired”.
The theory is therefore that “a specific genetic structure, consisting of particular variants of the Hla genes, could be the basis for Sars Cov 2’s susceptibility to 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 raises “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” regionsto the south it was registered before the national block, the southern regions recorded 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 will “help” the inhabitants of half of the boot. “While some have proposed that milder climatic conditions could help prevent viral spread,” the authors wonder whether “a specific genetic constitution could help protect citizens of the South. Additional large-scale case-control studies could shed light on this possible aspect “, but” the solid foundations for thinking about it already exist “, Giordano assures. “We are increasing the number of cases to arrive at the final figure”, he explains. And to those who object that many citizens of southern Italy have actually lived in the North for generations, the scientist replies by recalling the existence of “complex interactions between genetics and the environment. We also need to consider a number of important factors that we are looking into, not least the possible role of pollution from fine particles“.
The article on Frontiers in Immunology