In this time of crisis, scientists and healthcare professionals worldwide are working around the clock to understand and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. At Ancestry we are doing our part to support the global research community in the quest to defeat COVID-19 by launching a research project to explore potential genetic cues in our response to the virus.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is novel, or new — so our current view is like having a jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces still missing. There are many questions that remain to be answered. For example, why do some people have very severe symptoms when others, of similar age and overall health, experience a milder course of the disease? We have to ask ourselves whether the answer lies, in part, in their DNA.
To help answer this important question, today Ancestry is launching a survey through our Personal Discoveries Project® to enable a genome-wide association study to explore how different people respond to this novel coronavirus. Our hope is that, through this knowledge, the pace of research into new preventive and therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 can be accelerated.
As part of our commitment to the health of all of us, Ancestry is making research data from the study available at no cost to qualified researchers in organizations including NGOs, public health agencies, and academic and pharmaceutical research groups. This will empower researchers to use their ingenuity and expertise to discover clues for how our DNA may affect how we each respond to this novel virus. All data will be from AncestryDNA customers in the U.S. who consented to participate in research, and such data will be de-identified so that no identifying personal information is shared. Learn more about the study.
Ancestry is the world’s largest consumer genomics network with more than 16 million members. We are optimistic that our highly engaged community will help accelerate research at a time when speed is so very important. We are honored to be able to create an opportunity for millions of people to contribute to research in a way that can be amplified to benefit millions more.
I want to personally extend my heartfelt gratitude to our customers, who are already incredibly supportive of Ancestry. And I thank everyone who chooses to share information about their personal experience with COVID-19. We are all in this together.
Dr. Catherine Ball
Chief Scientific Officer