Your credit score is calculated in a logical way.
Lots of specific areas, among which your credit history, income, monthly outgoings and whether you’re on the electoral role will feed into an algorithm. This algorithm then calculates your credit rating.
If we apply the same methodology to how your immune system works, it will give you a rough idea of how your “Virus Score” is calculated.
Yes of course it is slightly more complex, but it does help to paint a fairly simplistic picture of how your body deals with fighting off an infection or virus.
The highest proportion of people which have unfortunately been affected by the virus have had a weakened immune system. This can be for a variety of reasons such as old age and underlying health issues, as well as there being a strong genetic component.
The “Virus Score” analyses over 60 gene variants to bring you a conclusive overview. We combine data on your respiratory health, heart health, general immunity and inflammation.
We then combine your genetic data with key lifestyle and environmental factors, such as age, gender, weight, current health status, diet and air quality index. These findings can then either dilute or magnify your genetic virus risk.
Your individual virus score is broken up into four end results: Low Risk; Normal Risk; High Risk; and Very High Risk. Those in the higher risk categories have gene variants and/or lifestyle and environmental factors, which may be linked to hampered respiratory health such as asthma, increased risk of vascular or hearth conditions, decreased general immunity and increased inflammatory responses.
Once we understand your individual score, we will provide you with clear and concise lifestyle and dietary recommendations to help negate risk factors and reduce your overall virus risk.
The starting point and foundation of your Virus risk score comes from your own DNA.
Research by King’s College London shows that nearly three quarters of our immune traits are influenced by our genes – which makes it a great place to start.
Below is a summary of some the 60 genetic variants that are utilised in our algorithm and what they do within the body.
IL-6 (Interleukin 6)
The IL-6 gene encodes for a pro-inflammatory cytokine. It’s involved in the immune system, helping with bone metabolism, protection from bacterial infection as well as a host of other physiological functions.
Various pharmaceutical companies are now looking at IL-6 inhibitors as possible therapy for multiple pathogens. While IL-6 under normal circumstances has many positive health benefits, data suggests that patients with worse outcomes have increased IL-6 compared to those with better outcomes.
TNF-alpha gene (Tumour necrosis factor)
TNF-alpha encodes a pro-inflammatory cytokine produced to kill bacteria, viruses and parasites. When produced in small amounts it will play an important role for the protection of your cells. Unfortunately, if it is produced in larger amounts and more frequently, it can cause your cells to become weakened and lose their function.
HLA-DQA1 (Major histocompatibility complex, class II, DQ alpha 1)
HLA-DQA1 belongs to the HLA class II alpha chain paralogues, the protein encoded by this gene is one of two proteins that form the DQ heterodimer, which is essential for a functioning immune system. Variations in this gene cause inappropriate immune responses and are associated with conditions such as celiac disease, among others.
PON1 (Paraoxonase 1)
The PON1 gene encodes an enzyme known as serum paraoxonase/arylesterase 1. PON1 has a contributing role to our innate immunity as it protects against bacterial infection. It is therefore an important gene when considering secondary infections from common respiratory tract infections.
FOXO3 (Forkhead box O3)
Forkhead box O3 is a protein encoded by the FOXO3 gene. It’s associated with protection from oxidative stressors and, interestingly, has a variant associated with longevity; being overly apparent in those who live to 100.
There are a whole variety of lifestyle factors which can have a bearing on the severity of any illness. We have incorporated and weighted the most researched lifestyle factors such as age, weight, current health status and diet and combined them to your underlying DNA results, which then provides the next layer to your Virus Risk Score.
As we age most of our biological processes will start to slow down, with one of these being our immune system.
Over 70% of ICU patients suffering from the virus have been overweight or obese. If you have higher bodyfat levels, you will have naturally higher amounts of inflammation and in particular IL-6, which will have a huge effect on your immune response and experiencing a severe reaction.
There are a few health areas that will have a huge impact on your immune system and ability to deal with a virus. We have already mentioned individuals that are overweight or obese having an increased risk of having a severe reaction. We also need to look at those taking specific cardiovascular, immune or inflammatory medications that will also need to be factored in.
Your day to day will have huge implications on your immune function and subsequent ability to deal with an infection. In most instances, the average western diet is lacking in both quality as well as quantity of key nutrients, which are required for a strong and robust immune response.
Vitamin D is one such nutrient which has been shown to have both a significant and positive effect on the immune system. The data is clear with one study showing that 80% of Covid patients in one particular Spanish hospital were vitamin D deficient.
The final area which is included in our calculations is that of your environment. The air that you breathe and potential pollutants in it will have a profound effect on your health. This is why your geolocation and air quality index provides the final layer to your “Virus Risk Score”.
Sadly, we cannot legislate for you contracting a virus when you are out in public spaces such as in your local supermarket. But what we can provide is a clear and concise account of how your genes, lifestyle and environment will affect your immune system and response if you have the misfortune of contracting a virus and becoming ill.
Muhdo has a hugely experienced team of nutritionists and geneticists that will help provide you all the information you need to ensure your immune response is at its peak. Knowledge is power and understanding how you can combat your health risks may be vital to your wellbeing.