Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic began, one of the biggest questions faced by the world was why some people got very ill or even died from the virus, while some only had mild illnesses and many suffered no symptoms at all.
An answer, at least for vaccinated people, may be a bit nearer after new research by the University of Oxford suggested genetics may be a key factor in this variation. The study, published in Nature Medicine, found that people with the HLA-DQB1*06 gene, which is between 30 and 40 per cent of the population, enjoyed a stronger antibody response after vaccination.
For those who have benefitted, the chances of them catching the virus will be less and any infection will have had little impact on their health. This in turn will have made it much easier for them to resume ‘normal’ life than others.
That may be another reason for those who are immunocompromised and more at risk of Covid than most to have silicone finger protectors for using devices like touch screens. This is because people who have not suffered heavily – or at all – from Covid infections may be more relaxed about hygiene issues and not use sanitiser even where it is provided.
For example, such an individual might not use sanitiser that’s available at the entrance and exit of a supermarket and then use a cashpoint outside.
With finger protectors, those who are less ‘lucky’ in their body’s capacity to tackle Covid can make sure that they are not put at extra risk of infection.
The level of complacency may be greater among populations like the UK because of the high vaccination rate, with 93.6 per cent of over-12s in England having had at least their first dose.
Indeed, another Oxford study has revealed that life expectancy in western Europe returned to something near pre-pandemic leaves in 2021, whereas it declined in the US and eastern Europe, two parts of the world with high levels of vaccine refusals.