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SFU researchers help find link between ethnicity, immunity

BURNABY (NEWS1130) – A team of scientists from SFU is among a North American group that has discovered a link between your race and your ability to fight diseases.  This all comes after years of research.

What they found is certain ethnicities have either missed or added DNA links and that’s a factor that could influence immunity towards a disease like HIV or something like the common flu.

SFU’s Felix Breden says this is important as doctors search for the best universal vaccine.  “We’re only now able to ask whether different people and different ethnic groups are differently susceptible to these diseases.”

He adds that it’s too early to tell how the findings will affect drugs, vaccines or treatments that are typically used to help the general population.

“One of the words used a lot right now is ‘personalized medicine’ where people are trying to have one-size fit all approaches and trying to have different therapies depending on what your genetic make-up is.”

This discovery also has implications for scientists who do ethnicity research in future, because they’ll need to take the ethnicity of DNA samples into account for the best and accurate results.

The study included 425 people of Asian, African and European descent.