Polish scientists develop test for risk of severe Covid infection

In March last year, Dr Zbigniew Król, who was taking part in the MSWiA research, told PAP it had been possible to identify about six genetic anomalies, or gene variants, that might cause more severe Covid-19 infection. Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

Researchers at the Ministry of Interior and Administration (MSWiA) hospital in Warsaw have developed a test to identify patients at risk of severe Covid-19 infection, which has been validated by clinical and laboratory testing.

The test was co-financed by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), as one of four projects into predicting the course of Covid-19 infection, and the Ministry of Health said it was seeking innovative diagnostic methods for the disease.

The MSWiA hospital is part of two of the world's largest consortia involved in Covid-19 research - the Host Genome Initiative (HGI) and the COVID Human Genetic Effort (HGE).

"In the period from March to July (2021) we described in several scientific articles (published) in Nature, Science, Nature Immunology and Cell, the consortia's joint discoveries concerning genetic variants causing severe Covid-19 infection," Dr Paula Dobosz of the MSWiA hospital told PAP. "We will never write that 'we have discovered something.' We write everything together as consortium members, because that's the strength of this project - we have open access to the research of scientists from the whole world and we can use all their results."

In March last year, Dr Zbigniew Król, who was taking part in the MSWiA research, told PAP it had been possible to identify about six genetic anomalies, or gene variants, that might cause more severe Covid-19 infection.

"It turned out that in the Polish population, specifically two genetic variants play a role," Dobosz explained. "On the basis of these two variants, a test was created which we have validated clinically and in the laboratory.... We were responsible for the scientific aspect and our role has now finished. The test awaits commercialisation."