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There are 13 genetic markers associated with Covid-19 infection and severity.

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The study, published in the journal Nature, shows that 13 regions in the human genome are “strongly associated” with SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe development of COVID-19.

Smoking and high body mass index (BMI) were also among the causal factors identified by the researchers.

The results announced are based on one of the largest genome association studies ever conducted, involving nearly 50,000 COVID-19 patients and 2 million SARS-CoV-2-free control patients.

According to the study, of the 13 regions identified in the human genome, two had a higher frequency in patients from East and South Asia compared to patients from Europe.

The statement said that one of the two identified sites in the human genome, close to the FOXP4 gene, is associated with lung cancer, and the FOXP4 variant, associated with severe covid-19 disease, “increases gene expression.”

“Gene inhibition could be a potential therapeutic strategy,” the document says.

Other sites associated with severe covid-19 disease included the DPP9 gene, also associated with lung cancer and lung fibrosis, and the TYK2 gene, which is implicated in several autoimmune diseases.

The initiative, the result of a global effort of thousands of scientists and entitled COVID-19 Host Genomics Initiative, was initiated in March 2020 by Andrea Ganna, researcher at the Finnish Institute of Molecular Medicine (FIMM) at the University of Helsinki, and Mark Dali, FIM Director and Broad Institute Fellow Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard.

Since then, the initiative has become one of the largest collaborative projects in the field of human genetics, currently involving more than 3,300 authors and 61 studies from 25 countries.

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Quoted in the statement, Mark Dali says that despite progress in the investigation, “there is still a long way to go.”

“We will probably see covid-19 as a serious health problem for a long time to come. Any therapy that comes out this year, for example by reusing an existing drug based on clear genetic knowledge, will have a big impact. “stress.

The researcher adds that the results show that “there is a lot of untapped potential in the use of genetics to understand and potentially develop treatments for infectious diseases.”

Andrea Ganna, also cited in the article, says this research and the steps taken to find reliable genetic signals “show how much better science is, how much faster it progresses,” and when there is collaboration between experts.

Ben Neal, co-director of the Medical Genetics Program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and co-author of the study, also cited in the statement, says that while vaccines protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection, “there is still significant room for improved treatment.” Covid -nineteen.

According to the researcher, improved treatment approaches for COVID-19 could help “translate the pandemic into a more localized endemic disease that is present at low but constant levels in the population,” like the flu.

“The better we can treat covid-19, the better the medical community will be to control the disease,” says Ben Neal, adding that if there were mechanisms to treat the infection and remove patients from hospitals, “it would radically change the situation. health response. the public “.

Researchers who hope the results “point the way to beneficial therapeutic goals” will now examine what makes “truckers” different. [doentes que desenvolvem uma infeção prolongada] remaining patients, as well as to identify areas in the human genome associated with infections and serious diseases.

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According to the latest estimate by Agence France-Presse, the covid-19 pandemic has caused at least 4,004,996 deaths worldwide as a result of more than 185 million new coronavirus infections.

The respiratory illness is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, discovered at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China, and currently variants identified in countries such as the UK, India or South Africa.

Read also: MINUTE: Meetings at Infarmed upon return; EMA insists on two doses

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Nord Stream: Anthony Blinken called Putin’s accusations about the pipeline “absurd and outrageous”

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“I have nothing to add to these absurd statements by President Putin that we or our allied partners are somehow responsible for this,” Blinken said at a press conference.

The head of the US diplomatic mission once again condemned the “scandalous disinformation campaign” of Russia.

At the conference, along with his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly, the American said he did not intend to prejudge the “ongoing investigation” into the origin of the explosions that led to leaks in gas pipelines, but assured that he was in “close contact with the Europeans on this issue.

The head of the Russian state today, during his speech in the Kremlin after the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, accused Western representatives of being behind the “explosions” that caused large leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines built for transporting Russian gas towards Europe.

“By organizing explosions on international gas pipelines crossing the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they actually began to destroy the European energy infrastructure,” he condemned, attributing this “sabotage” to the “Anglo-Saxons”.

Vladimir Putin also stressed that the United States is “pressing” on European countries so that they completely stop Russian gas supplies “in order to capture the European market.”

Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the European Union (EU) and NATO said this week that the Nord Stream leaks were due to “deliberate acts” and “sabotage”.

For its part, the Kremlin called “meaningless and absurd” European accusations that Russia could be held responsible for the damage found in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.

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Ukraine on Tuesday blamed Russia for the pipeline leak, condemning a “terrorist attack” against the European Union (EU).

The first Nord Stream, capable of pumping 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year, was halted after Russia claimed an oil leak at the only Russian compressor station still in operation.

On the other hand, Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation due to the blockade of infrastructure by Berlin even before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

However, both pipelines are filled with gas and therefore must maintain a stable pressure.

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“Victory will be ours!” Putin assured on Red Square

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“Victory will be ours!” shouted the President of Russia to the applause of a crowd of thousands.

“Welcome home!” – Putin said, addressing the residents of the annexed Ukrainian territories, believing that they “returned to their historical homeland.”

“Russia does not just open the doors of its home to people, it opens its heart,” he said from a stage specially installed on the symbolic square near the Kremlin wall (the residence of the President of Russia).

Many Russian flags fluttered among the crowd in attendance, and some people also wore black and orange striped St. George ribbons, an old tsarist military award that became a symbol of the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany.

Several giant screens and a powerful sound system were also installed so that people could follow the speech of the President of Russia and the performance of various Russian pop stars who performed on stage.

The Russian head of state, in power for 22 years, referred to a “special, historic day of truth and justice” at a time when Russian soldiers are “heroically defending the people’s choice” in Ukraine, he said.

“We will do everything to support our brothers and sisters in Zaporozhye, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk, improve their security, restart the economy, restore,” he also said, hours after signing the annexation of these four Ukrainian regions, in a ceremony in the Kremlin.

After this symbolic act in the Kremlin, which was a new step in his war against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a neighboring country, Putin defended his mantra with a raised microphone that Russia created modern Ukraine.

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“I can’t help but remember how the Soviet Union was formed. It was Russia that created modern Ukraine, transferring significant territories there, the historical territories of Russia itself along with the population,” Putin said.

“We are stronger because we are together. The truth is with us, and there is strength,” Putin said, adding once again: “Then victory will be ours!”

Kyiv and its Western allies have widely condemned such an annexation, with NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a Western defense bloc) classifying it as “illegitimate” and the countries of the European Union (EU) and the G7 (a group of the most industrialized countries in the world : Germany, Canada, USA, France, Italy, Japan and the UK) declared that they would “never recognize [tais] alleged annexations.

Putin has no intention of visiting the four Ukrainian regions now annexed by Moscow in the midst of a military conflict with Kyiv, a Kremlin spokesman said.

“Not yet, because at the moment there is a lot of work ahead, but this will definitely happen after some time,” said Dmitry Peskov, who was quoted by Russian news agencies and asked about the possibility of such a visit.

The four occupied regions of Ukraine, whose annexation treaties Putin signed today, make up about 15% of Ukraine’s territory – Donetsk and Lugansk (which he had already recognized as independent republics shortly before the invasion of Ukraine), Kherson and Zaporozhye (which hosts the largest nuclear power plant in Europe). ).

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine has already caused the flight of more than 13 million people – more than six million internally displaced people and more than 7.5 million to European countries – according to the latest UN figures, which rank this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).

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The Russian invasion, justified by Putin as the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community as a whole, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions against Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed since the beginning of the war, which entered its 219th day today, 5,996 civilians killed and 8,848 wounded, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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EU Agreement on Excess Profit Tax and Energy Savings

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This Friday in Brussels, European Union energy ministers reached an agreement on emergency intervention in the face of rising energy prices, which includes a solidarity contribution to the exceptional profits of companies in the energy sector.

The regulation, proposed this month by the Commission and given political approval this Friday 27, provides for a 33 percent tax on excessive profits from fossil fuel companies, to be converted into a “solidarity contribution” to be redistributed to the most vulnerable, a profit ceiling companies producing low-cost (renewable) electricity, and plans to reduce electricity consumption, voluntary (10% for total demand) and mandatory (5% during “peak hours”).

“Agreement! The ministers reached a political agreement on measures to reduce high electricity prices: a mandatory reduction in electricity demand, limiting the market revenues of over-marginal electricity producers and solidarity contributions from fossil fuel producers,” announced the current Czech Presidency of the Council. EU.

At the meeting, represented by Portugal’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Duarte Cordeiro, 27 countries will discuss policy options to reduce high gas prices, but no decision is expected today despite a large group of 15 member states. , including Portugal, demanded a “ceiling” on gas prices.

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