This is fascinating: Researchers looked at variations in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes of people who had confirmed cases of Covid before the vaccine rollout and also had genetic records on file.

Those with a particular variation were twice as likely to have been asymptomatic.

Having that same variation from both parents made them 8.5 times as likely to have been asymptomatic!

They looked at two more cohorts and found the same results.

And then they looked at T-cells collected before the pandemic, and found that the ones with this allele responded more actively to SARS-COV2, despite never having been exposed to it before. That lends weight to the hypothesis that some people’s immune systems were able to recognize it as similar to more run-of-the-mill coronaviruses.

Next they want to broaden the study more to include people with a wider range of ancestry.

It doesn’t come close to explaining all asymptomatic cases, and they didn’t look at how it might stack with immune responses that are actually targeted at covid (vaccines, prior infections), or whether it also reduces the chances of long-term damage from covid.

But wouldn’t it be great if someone could come up with a supplement based on what this HLA variant produces that’ll cause your immune system to generalize better? Even if it’s just within coronaviruses?

I’m beginning to understand why someone would jump out of a bathtub and go streaking through the streets with a fantastic new idea. Recently, in the shower, my brain decided it wanted to write a graphic novel. The day after, it worked out a genetic explanation of channeling in the Wheel of Time universe. If you haven’t read any Robert Jordan, or if you don’t know basic genetics, this won’t make a huge lot of sense. If you’ve read some but not all, be warned that this explanation contains information you may not have reached. None of it is serious, but if you’re a fanatic about not being spoiled, watch out. I’ll break the article before I get into speculation that people might not have heard or want to hear.

Here’s my model. There are three factors controlling channeling ability: whether you can do it, whether you have the spark or can learn, and how strong you are. Strength and sparkiness don’t seem to be related, and neither seems to be related to sex. What I propose is that basic channeling ability is a recessive, sex-linked trait. There are variations of a gene on both the X and Y chromosomes, X’ and Y’ to borrow from Katherine Kurtz, that enable awareness of, respectively, saidar and saidin. In order to channel, someone has to have this variation on both their sex chromosomes. So an X’Y male can’t channel, but an X’Y’ can. X’X women and X’Y or XY’ men can’t even sense the Source. The elegant part of this is that it explains why men who can channel or learn can sense when a woman is channeling: they have the X’. It also explains why channeling-capable men can only tell other men can channel when they do it, while women have an easy time telling when other women can channel (sensing other Aes Sedai, seeing the glow, knowing who’s sparky), since they have double sensitivity to saidar.

Sparkiness is easy compared to that. It seems to be a simple dominant-recessive or absent-present allele situation. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say there are two possible places on non-X-or-Y chromosomes that the allele (call it “spontaneity,” S for absent and s for present) can appear. If someone has one, and all other genetic markers are in order, he/she is a learner; two means he/she has the spark. This makes for a very easy Punnett square giving about twice as many sul’dam as damane.

I won’t address strength, since it’s not a black-and-white issue and probably involves a lot of genes that most people just don’t use, not having the right matchups in spontaneity or sensitivity. However, I do want to look at what happens when you examine a few special families…. Continue reading