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Are twins more likely to die from COVID-19?

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

As coronavirus continues to impact every corner of the globe, new symptoms and data are revealing more and more about how the virus behaves and who it impacts most.

As coronavirus continues to impact every corner of the globe, new symptoms and data are revealing more and more about how the virus behaves and who it impacts most.

The latest finding relates to how COVID-19 impacts twins after at least two pairs of twins died within hours or days of each other.

Scientists understand that a person's genetic makeup may influence the ways in which someone responds to a virus and how resilient the person is to the infection. But do the deaths point to genetic factors that make twins more likely to succumb to the virus?  

Identical twins Katy and Emma Davis, aged 37, died at Southampton general hospital in the UK last month. The sisters, who lived together, had underlying health problems and had been ill before contracting the virus.

Another pair of twins, Eleanor Andrews and her sister Eileen, aged 66, died earlier this month. They too lived together and had underlying health conditions.

Two brothers from Newport, Ghulam Abbas, 59, and Raza Abbas, 54, died within hours of each other as did Luton brothers, Olume Ivowi, 46, and Isi Ivowi, 38.

Professor John Hopper, Director of Twins Research Australia said there is no evidence to suggest twins are more likely to experience fatal symptoms of coronavirus, nor are they more susceptible to infection.

However, if one twin becomes infected with COVID-19 and suffered particular symptoms, if their twin also becomes infected they are more likely to experience very similar symptoms.

Therefore, if someone dies after contracting the virus and their twin is also infected, it is more likely the infection will be fatal.

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"If one is predisposed to certain symptoms, the other one is likely to experience the same thing because of their genetics," Prof. Hopper told

"But that doesn't mean twins are more susceptible to contracting or dying from coronavirus."

Prof. Hopper said studying twins can reveal valuable insights into how a virus impacts individuals because scientists and researchers are able to control the genetic, and often environmental factors that would otherwise be difficult to compare.

The University of Queensland has developed what they hope is an effective vaccine for coronavirus.

"Studying twins give you information about the role of genetics on how the virus affects someone," he said.

"What we're seeing is there is an enormous variation in outcomes if you are infected with COVID-19.

"By studying twins, you're controlling genetic factors and environmental factors to determining how two people might cope."

The Twins Research Australia is currently undertaking a study of thousands of pairs of twins to get greater insight into how people with the same genetic make-up and often the same environment if they live together may react differently both physically and mentally to COVID-19.

A small protion of people die but its emegerning that there are people who get infected who get vey mild symptoms

Source: 9News

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