New research shows several genetic variants linked to asthma and mucus production.

For some patients, despite taking medications at high doses, their asthma symptoms remain difficult to control. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), the prevalence of severe asthma is 3.6% among adults. In these cases, quality of life is heavily impacted, causing missed days at work and increased hospitalizations; some studies suggest that severe asthma raises the risk for other lung conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.

According to researchers, this study is the largest to evaluate the genetic links to moderate-to-severe asthma, investigating 10,549 cases with 47,146 healthy controls to help identify genetic differences that might explain asthma that remains severe despite treatment.

“We know there are genes that make some people more likely to develop asthma, but there hadn’t yet been a large study that set out to understand whether the same genes or different genes explain why some people experience very severe symptoms and don’t respond well to treatment compared to others,” Ian Sayers, PhD, of the University of Nottingham and lead author of the study, told MD Magazine.

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