From the beginning of the pandemic, 24Genetics had it clear that it wanted to do its part in the fight against COVID19. Over the last few months, we have made an enormous effort and worked on new lines of development and research.
24Genetics free pharmacogenetics report
With the March home confinements, we took one of our first decisions: to send the pharmacogenetic report free of charge to all our clients. The objective? that those people sequenced with us could complete with this pharmacogenetic report (one of the seven reports that 24Genetics delivers) their genetic map of health and well-being to make the right decisions (1).
However, this was only the beginning of the action plan. From all the publications and cases described in COVID19, it was clear that genetics played an important role. It was confirmed sometime later, with a study carried out on twins suggested that the genetic factor could account for 50% of the risk factor (2). All this finally led to the signing of our first research agreement (3) with the research institute of the La Paz University Hospital (IdiPAZ). The project puts on the table the search for genetic factors that develop an essential role in the immune system and its interrelation with COVID19.
Covid-19 host genetics initiative – HGI
The research is framed within the international platform COVID-19 host genetics initiative (HGI) that is studying, along with nearly 200 other projects, the possible genetic factors behind COVID19 (4). The results? Firstly, known relevant genes as OAS1, IFNAR2 or DPP9 (5). Later, there was more data, such as the importance of the genetic region related to the replication of the Influenza virus (6).
Relevant Genes and Covid-19
Another critical data that was known months ago was the relevance of chromosome 3. A chromosome in which several high impact hits detected in terms of disease severity (7). On this chromosome, there is the ABO gene that plays a vital role in blood grouping, assuming a possible immune advantage of certain blood groups over others (8). Although it has not been the only relevant genetic region, appropriate markers have also been found on chromosome 6 or chromosome 18 if we are dealing with hospitalized people concerning control samples (4).
With the help of IdiPAZ and, other collaborations loaded genetic data from our research into the HGI platform. There, pre-selected samples were collected from volunteers, patients of COVID and other pathologies, to collaborate in this international study (4).
Universidad Europea de Madrid
Finally, 24Genetics has just signed an agreement with the European University of Madrid, thus continuing on its path of research partnerships. In this case, the collaboration aims to investigate different genetic factors that influence both the development of COVID 19, as in the non-contamination / innate immunity under risk situations. We examine, for example, the characteristics of those genetic profiles that have not been infected, even under scenarios of the high risk of infection.
24Genetics boost to COVID19 research
We can only hope that soon all these investigations, developed and promoted by 24Genetics as well as other institutions, may bear fruit and thus have a clearer picture of the set of genetic factors that encompasses the SARS-COV-2.
- 24Genetics 2020.https://24genetics.com/es/covid19/.
- Williams, F. MK., et al., Self-reported symptoms of covid-19, including symptoms most predictive of SARS-CoV-2 infection, are heritable, medRxiv 2020.04.22.20072124; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.22.20072124.
- Sierra, M. Medicos y pacientes de coronavirus se someten a pruebas genéticas para la covid-19. 2020. VozPopuli. https://www.vozpopuli.com/economia-y-finanzas/pruebas-geneticas-coronavirus_0_1361563923.html
- The COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative. The COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative, a global initiative to elucidate the role of host genetic factors in susceptibility and severity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic. Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 28, 715–718 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-0636-6
- Pairo-Castineira, E., et al., Genetic mechanisms of critical illness in Covid-19, medRxiv 2020.09.24.20200048; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.09.24.20200048.
- Genevieve, H.L., et al., AncestryDNA COVID-19 Host Genetic Study Identifies Three Novel Loci, medRxiv 2020.10.06.20205864; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.06.20205864.
- Shelton, J.F., Trans-ethnic analysis reveals genetic and non-genetic associations with COVID-19 susceptibility and severity, medRxiv 2020.09.04.20188318; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.09.04.20188318.
- The Severe Covid-19 GWAS Group. Genomewide Association Study of Severe Covid-19 with Respiratory Failure. 2020 N Engl J Med 2020; 383:1522-1534 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2020283