To identify the 51 risk factors, the team, part of the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative (COVID-19 HGI), performed a meta-analysis of up to 219,692 cases and over 3?million controls.
COVID-19 HGI, launched as a large-scale international project at the start of the pandemic, aims to collate data from individual studies being set up all over the world and investigate it all together. “The consortium has successfully identified 51 risk factors in all, 28 of which are new since the previous publication,” said Dr. Axel Schmidt, from the varsity.
Further investigation of how such susceptibility and severity gene map to different pathways would provide mechanistic insights into the human genetic architecture of COVID-19, the team said.
HLA Gene Mutation Enhances T Cell Response to SARS-CoV-2
In a separate study,also published in the journal Nature, researchers from the University of California -San Francisco identified a mutation in one of the genes coding for human leukocyte antigen (HLA), that helped virus-killing T cells identify SARS-CoV-2 and launch a lighting attack.
The mutation — HLA-B*15:01 — is quite common, carried by about 10 per cent of the study’s population. It doesn’t prevent the virus from infecting cells but, rather, prevents people from developing any symptoms.
This may explain why some people never have common symptoms like a runny nose or sore throat, even after testing positive for the deadly virus.