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Thursday, 18 June 2020

Genes may determine that some people develop severe forms of COVID-19

An international study describes that vulnerability to the development of severe clinical forms may be influenced by their genetic characteristics

This research, which has just been published in the prestigious scientific journal New England Journal of Medicine, indicates that variants from two regions of the human genome are associated with an increased risk of developing respiratory failure in patients with SARS-VOC-2 infection. One of them is located on chromosome 3 and can affect the expression of genes that would favor the entry of the virus, as well as the generation of the "cytokine storm". The second region is located on chromosome 9, specifically in the gene that determines the blood group of the ABO system. In this sense, the data showed that having blood group A is associated with a 50% higher risk of needing respiratory support in case of coronavirus infection. Conversely, having blood group O confers a protective effect against the development of respiratory failure (35% less risk).

Scientists from different hospitals in Spain and Lombardy (epicenter of the pandemic in Italy) have participated in this international study and have been coordinated by geneticists from Norway and Germany.

Also, the CIBERES group at the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid (David Jiménez), the CIBERESP group at the Catalan Institute of Oncology (Víctor Moreno), the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP), Genomes for life (GCAT) (Rafael de Cid) and the López-Neira Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine in Granada.

Many national newspapers have echoed the news: