A multidisciplinary team of University of Calgary researchers is doing a deep dive study into the genes of Alberta children and the unique genetic code of the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself.
Like all things in life, a virus has its own genetic code and that unique code means researchers can track the transmission of the disease. We know that not everyone is equally susceptible to COVID-19 and we suspect that there is an interaction between the viral code and our own genome. Using machine learning and an extensive Alberta bank of information on children under 18 who have been tested for COVID-19 the newly funded project will pull all the information together.
They hope to find the biological differences in the response of children to COVID-19 that may shed light into ways to better combat the effect seen in adults. There is also an expectation that they will uncover the genetic differences and other important biomarkers between children who have severe and mild infections.
Francois Bernier is a clinical geneticist at the University of Calgary along with co-lead Jim Kellner has received new funding from Genome Alberta (via Genome Canada), and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute to study how COVID-10 affects children. Freelance broadcaster Don Hill talked with Francois about the new research announced today.