TOPEKA (KSNT) – For people who haven’t had coronavirus throughout the pandemic, some studies show a genetic component may be involved.

According to the National Health Institute, some researchers are studying what could be responsible for how individuals respond to the virus. They believe in some cases, genes can play a role in our immune response, helping people fight severe symptoms.

In an interview with Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Hawkinson said there could be other factors involved.

“We know that there’s genetic components of a lot of things, but the genetic components that we talk about are not simple black and white…one gene or two gene things…they are typically a combination of different things as well,” Hawkinson said. “So we could certainly say that it is, but what kind of component is it? Are there multiple genes that are interacting?”

Hawkinson said “luck” and individual behavior could also be the reason behind the anomaly.

However, some research has suggested a genetic component could contribute to people that are less likely to get sick, but mostly it appears to depend on their level of exposure.

Dr. Hawkinson said unless there are studies to look at exposure to the virus, it’s difficult to say if someone didn’t have it, since there are also people that fall into an asymptomatic category.

“Who knows if somebody hasn’t had it? Maybe they didn’t get ill…Maybe they are part of that large group that has asymptomatic disease.”

“If they were out doing those high-risk situations, like at parties or in closed spaces with a lot of different people… it’s hard to say that maybe somebody didn’t have it, because we know that a large contingent of people who get infected can still have asymptomatic disease and can still spread the disease.”