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Genetics Prof: Greece to Play Key Role in COVID-19 Research and Diagnosis

Αssociated Press

FILE - In this April 2, 2020, file photo a nurse holds a vial and a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station at a hospital in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

ATHENS - Α Greek pioneering study that turns the country into a key player on the international scientific stage will be shortly applied to 3,500 patients and in ten laboratories aiming at the better genetic understanding as well as in the battle against SARS-CoV-2, stated to Athens-Macedonian News Agency, the president of the National Council for Research, Technology and Innovation, professor of Genetics at the school of Medicine of the University of Geneva and director of the Genomics Centre "Health 2030" Emmanouil Dermitzakis.

Professor Dermitzakis is one of the two persons that chose Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to head a very important Greek research effort that was announced on Tuesday. The genetics profile of 3,500 persons will be examined as well as the variations of the virus that have infected them along with their immune profile in order to better understand the characteristics of the virus and the biological procedures that constitute the main reason for the differences in the disease's progress among patients, said the professor.

"The knowhow acquired from this programme will allow Greece to proceed to similar actions on other infectious diseases as the seasonal influenza and will allow the improvement of the management of pandemics or localised epidemics.

The professor also said that the possibility of a new medicine may increase 4 to 10 times when its development procedure is supported by genetic data.

Asked on the next day and on the possibility of the long-term active presence of the virus Dermitzakis said if we do not have a vaccine or a medicine for the virus, we must address it with measures and attitudes. "Any measures will be complex and based on contamination calculations (R0) as well as on the effect of sub-measures and on this basis the citizens should, "blindly" trust the scientists.