NPR on Are You a Novid or Covid Superdodger?

NPR on Are You a Novid or Covid Superdodger?

So you haven’t caught COVID yet. Does that mean you’re a superdodger? NPR reports.

Click here if you want to participate right now in the Rockefeller University study.

Do some people have built-in protection against a COVID infection? (Laura Gao for NPR)

Back in the early 1990s Nathaniel Landau was a young virologist just starting his career in HIV research. But he and his colleagues were already on the verge of a landmark breakthrough. Several labs around the world were hot on his team’s tail.

“We were sleeping in the lab, just to keep the work going day and night because there were many labs all racing against each other,” Landau says. “Of course, we wanted to be the first to do it. We were totally stressed out.”

Other scientists had identified groups of people who appeared to be completely resistant to HIV. “People who knew they had been exposed to HIV multiple times, mainly through unprotected sex, yet they clearly were not infected,” Landau explains.

And so the race was on to figure out why: “Are these people just lucky or did they really have a mutation in their genes that was protecting them from infection?'” he asks.

Now 25 years later, scientists all over the world are trying to answer the same question but about a different virus: SARS-CoV-2.

By this point in the pandemic, most Americans have had at least one bout of COVID. For children under age 18, more than 80% have been infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.

But just as with HIV, some people have been exposed multiple times but never had symptoms and never tested positive.

“We’ve heard countless anecdotes about nurses and health-care workers, being exposed without any protection and remaining negative over and over again,” says pediatrician Jean-Laurent Casanova, who studies the genetics of viral resistance at Rockefeller University. “Or people share a household with someone who’s been coughing for a couple of weeks, and one person stays negative.”

So why haven’t these people caught COVID? .

After two years of hunting, a team at the University of California, San Francisco has come pretty close to answering the question…

Read on to learn what it takes to be a true superdodger and more.

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