Published on February 28, 2021

Ahmedabad: The patients of rare diseases – primarily affected by genetic disorders – are more prone to Covid-19 infection, said city-based experts. February 28 is marked as Rare Diseases Day globally to create awareness about the diseases which are difficult to diagnose and some of which are difficult to treat.

Dr Harsh Sheth, head of advanced genomic technologies at city-based Institute of Human Genetics (IHG) said that international studies have indicated that the viral infection is more severe for patients with autoimmune disorders both in terms of mortality and morbidity. “Another impact of the pandemic was fewer screenings of children and expecting mothers last year,” he said.

The Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) in association with IHG is developing a DNA sequence-based technology called single-molecule molecular-inversion probes that can rapidly screen gene mutations. “It can diagnose 23 lysosomal storage disorders at nearly half the current rate,” said Dr Sheth, adding that the project is funded by the Gujarat State Biotechnology Mission for cheaper and quicker screening of such disorders.

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