Nature publishes the most extensive genetic study on COVID-19, with the participation of 24Genetics.
24Genetics, a leader in consumer genetics, has participated in the most extensive study to date on genetics and COVID-19. As part of HGI (Host Genetics Initiative), the world’s largest COVID genetic research platform, the company has collaborated in the study, which aims to generate, share and analyze data to understand the genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility, severity and outcomes. The results could help generate hypotheses for drug repurposing, identify unusually high or low-risk profiles, and contribute to the global understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease biology.
Covid-19 Risk factors
Over more than a year of work, scientists and the medical community have worked to understand the differences between individuals regarding the severity of symptoms that COVID-19 sufferers develop. In this regard, this study identified risk factors, such as age or previous illnesses, and environmental factors affecting the severity of SARS-CoV-2 disease. In contrast, genetic variables had been less investigated.
24Genetics and IdiPaz
HGI, which encompasses academic institutions (such as the University of Oxford) and private companies (such as 24Genetics), aims to identify new genetic factors associated with COVID-19. In this case, 24Genetics worked, on a nonprofit basis, in collaboration with the La Paz Hospital Research Institute (IdiPaz) to obtain DNA sequencing of a large number of Covid-19 patients. The results of the landmark study will contribute to the development of more effective treatments for Covid-19. In addition, this model of international collaboration establishes a structure for future genetic discoveries in the event of pandemics or any complex human disease.
Nature publishes results
The study has recently been published by Nature, perhaps the most prestigious of international scientific journals. According to its results, HGI members have identified 13 loci* in the human genome that affect the susceptibility and severity of COVID-19. The research concludes that in chromosomes 3 and 21, genetic determinants are found in hospitalized people compared to healthy people. Among the most critical genetic-statistical correlations in risk factors in hospitalized persons are their body mass index and tobacco consumption.
24Genetics collaborates in the research
According to Nacho Esteban, CEO of 24Genetics, “Our business focus is on providing information to our clients to improve their health and well-being. So when the pandemic began, we asked ourselves what we could contribute to help, and we concluded that we could put our experience at the disposal of the HGI initiative and its genetic study on COVID-19”.
New 24Genetics collaboration with Universidad Europea de Madrid
Along the same lines of non-profit collaboration with prestigious institutions for Covid-19 research, 24Genetics signed another agreement with the European University to study the possible relationship between the genetic code and the different effects of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus on patients, explicitly analyzing the figure of possible “superspreaders”. 24Genetics has also developed an algorithm based on artificial intelligence that helps predict the evolution of those infected by COVID-19.
* Plural of locus: specific place on a chromosome where a gene or other DNA sequence locates.