The genetic reasons behind the most serious cases of Covid


A macro-study analyzes more than 125,000 cases of infected people to try to find more effective treatments and protect the most vulnerable

Covid Study Unit at Gregorio Mara
Covid study unit at the Gregorio Maran in Madrid.A. DI LOLLI

An international study, with Spanish participation, has located 11 new positions in the chromosomes involved in susceptibility to infection by SARS-CoV-2 and the clinical severity of COVID-19.

It’s a macro studio analyzes 125,584 cases of infection in 25 countriesincluding Spain, to locate the genetic determinants of the SARS-CoV-2 response, and their findings are key to understanding the biological mechanisms of the disease, finding effective treatments, and protecting potentially more vulnerable people.

The results are published in the journal Nature and among the genes found, it is worth highlighting certain genes coding for pulmonary surfactants which have a key role in lung function, reports the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) it is a statement.

Anna Planas, researcher at CSIC, from the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona (IIBB-CSIC), recalls that the susceptibility and response to viral infections vary from person to person, as the current pandemic has shown. of SARS-COV.

“Environmental and social factors contribute to the risk of contracting the infection, while male sex, advanced age and the presence of other diseases contribute to the risk of developing severe covid-19,” he summarizes.

However, he adds, genetic factors people also increase the likelihood of contracting the infection, requiring hospitalization or developing critical covid-19.

Thousands of patient samples

The results obtained in this study are the fruit of the international consortium COVID Host Genetic Initiative, which is looking for common genetic variants in the population that may increase the risk of infection or developing severe covid-19. To do this, this consortium is carrying out studies on thousands of patients. The present work is an update with a larger number of patients of a study that this consortium published in July 2021.

It now presents a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of 125,584 cases of infection and more than 2.5 million controls collected from 25 countries across 60 different studies.

CSIC provided genetic data on 236 patients and 654 controls; Analysis of the data from this cohort was led by Israel Fernndez Cadenas, of the Hospital de Sant Pau Research Institute (IIB Sant Pau).

“In this new work, we are expanding the map we started last year and almost doubling the number of regions and chromosomes studied, from 13 to 23”, explains the researcher.

Additionally, samples from around the world have been included, improving our knowledge of the biological processes that cause the severe symptoms of covid-19.

Among these studies is the ImmunGen-CoV2 projectincluded in the CSIC Global Health platform, and which brings together researchers from various CSIC institutes (the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, ​​the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia, the National Center of Biotechnology and the Institute of Physics of Cantabria), the Research Institute of Hospital de Sant Pau and the Idibaps-Hospital Clnic de Barcelona.

It also has the collaboration of researchers from the Hospital de la Vall d’Hebron, the Mutua de Terrassa, the Central University Hospital of Asturias and the University Hospital of Valladolid.

According to the criteria of

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