These people are more prone to COVID-19 infection

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In a new study, researchers found that men, older adults and smokers exhibit certain genomic traits in their airways that make it easier for them to contract COVID-19.

The research was conducted by a team at the Translational Genomics Research Institute and elsewhere.

In the study, the team used data from single-cell RNA genomic sequencing and the Human Cell Atlas to analyze the effect of the COVID-19 virus on more than 1.3 million cells from nasal, airway and lung tissue samples from 228 healthy individuals without COVID-19.

They found that age, smoking and sex all played big roles in the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to enter cells, replicate and further infect other cells.

The study focused on the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on three key airway cells.

Among men, older adults and those who smoked, the team found that the ACE2 enzyme was more highly expressed, meaning it was easier for the coronavirus to enter and infect these cells.

Men and older adults also expressed more TMPRSS2, a gene that cuts open the Spike proteins on the surface of the virus, aiding its entry into human cells.

Researchers also found additional enzymes beyond TMPRSS2 that also enable the virus to infect the body.

They say that in addition to co-morbidities, such as high-blood-pressure and diabetes, this research helps explain the biology behind why older adults and smokers may be at higher risk for COVID-19 infection and should be prioritized for vaccination.

One author of the study is Dr. Nicholas Banovich.

The study is published in Nature Medicine.

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