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Identical twins have dramatically different COVID-19 cases

covid twins
Posted at 2:30 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 14:30:40-05

ROCHESTER, MI — Kelly and Kimberly Standard have been living together for 36 years.

“It’s a true blessing to have her around me,” said Kelly Standard, motioning to her twin sister sitting beside her.

“It’s just having a person next to you and around you that you rely on forever,” echoed Kimberly Standard.

The identical twins share everything from their apartment outside Detroit: food, bills and most recently COVID-19.

“It’s just like a very terrifying moment,” Kelly said. “I could hardly breathe, and I had to be on oxygen for a few days. It just very terrifying from my experience.”

Although their genetic make-up is the same, Kimberly suffered far worse from the virus.

“I had to be rushed to the ICU,” Kimberly explained. “I passed out in the ICU and had to be flown by emergency transport to the (University of Michigan) hospital.”

Kelly went home after about a week. But for nearly a month, Kimberly lingered between life and death.

“I didn’t want this to be my last,” Kimberly said. “I didn’t want to end my life there in the hospital with COVID.”

They’re both finally back home, and life is slowly getting back to normal.

“I just have little coughs here and there, but not bad,” Kelly said.

Now, the twins are part of a comprehensive study into why two women, who are identical in every way, had such different experiences.

“It gives us the opportunity to study two most identical people and find if there could be any predictors,” said Dr. Mishita Goel.

Dr. Goel treated the standard twins and has since published a case study on the unique experience and why there still really isn’t a concrete answer.

“Even though identical twins have the same genetic code, the genetic expression could still be very different,” Dr. Goel explained.

The twins say they’re grateful to both be back together and free of the virus that nearly tore them apart.

They both know they’re still at risk with new variations of COVID-19 out there.

“Who knows what will happen a second time if we get it and I don’t want to find out,” Kimberly said.

The twins are both making changes in their lives to stay as healthy as possible.

“I definitely show more appreciation for life, and I try not to take anything for granted now,” Kimberly said.