Observed COVID-19 variability may have underlying molecular sources

UC Riverside-led study shows how variations in SARS-CoV-2 host gene expression can be linked to variations in COVID-19 susceptibility and symptom severity

Newswise — RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- People have different susceptibilities to SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic, and develop varying degrees of fever, fatigue, and breathing problems -- common symptoms of the illness. What might explain this variation?

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, and University of Southern California may have an answer to this mystery.

In a paper published in Informatics in Medicine Unlocked, the researchers show for the first time that the observed COVID-19 variability may have underlying molecular sources. The finding could help in the development of effective prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against the disease.

"Based on biomarkers and molecular profiles of individuals, one would hope to develop better medical tests to accommodate these variations in monitoring virus transmission and disease pathology, which helps guide mitigation and treatment options," said Sika Zheng, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the UC Riverside School of Medicine, who led the study.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus hijacks human host molecules for fusion and virus replication, attacking human cellular functions. These human host molecules are collectively called SARS-CoV-2 host genes. The researchers systematically analyzed SARS-CoV-2 host gene expression, their variations, and age- and sex-dependency in the human population using large-scale genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics.

They first found similarity of host gene expression is generally correlated with tissue vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among the six most variably expressed genes in the population they identified ACE2, CLEC4G, and CLEC4M, which are known to interact with the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Higher expression of these genes likely increases the possibility of being infected and of developing severe symptoms. Other variable genes include SLC27A2 and PKP2, both known to inhibit virus replication; and PTGS2, which mediates fever response. The authors also identified genetic variants linked to variable expression of these genes.

According to the Zheng, the expression profiles of these marker genes may help better categorize risk groups.

"More comprehensive risk assessment can better guide the early stage of vaccine distribution," he said. "Tests can also be developed to include these molecular markers to better monitor disease progression. They can also be used to stratify patients to assess and ultimately enhance treatment effectiveness."

In addition to identifying the most variable SARS-CoV-2 host genes, results from the study suggest genetic and multiple biological factors underlie the population variation in SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptom severity.

"Of course, these will need confirmation with more data. But the results indicate a potential value of a large scale eQTL project to profile genotypes and transcriptome of COVID-19 patients," Zheng said.

Next, the researchers plan to further analyze large scale genotypes and transcriptome data of COVID-19 patients when made available and to refine the results for higher association and accuracy.

###

Zheng was joined in the research by Liang Chen of USC. Grants from the National Institutes of Health supported the study.

The title of the research paper is "Understand variability of COVID-19 through population and tissue variations in expression of SARS-CoV-2 host genes."

The University of California, Riverside (http://www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment is more than 24,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of almost $2 billion. To learn more, email news@ucr.edu.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4219
Released: 4-Dec-2020 4:30 PM EST
New review confirms disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Hispanic populations
Oregon Health & Science University

Black and Hispanic populations are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to a systematic review published this week.

Newswise: 250647_web.jpg
Released: 4-Dec-2020 4:05 PM EST
For nationalistic regimes, similar COVID-19 policies are the sincerest form of flattery
University of Texas at Arlington

Analysis from a University of Texas at Arlington assistant professor of public policy suggests that nationalistic governments around the globe are more likely to copy other nationalistic governments in responding to the current pandemic.

Released: 4-Dec-2020 3:15 PM EST
New Study Finds Once Hospitalized, Black Patients with COVID-19 Have Lower Risk of Death than White Patients
NYU Langone Health

A team of investigators at NYU Langone Health has found that once hospitalized, Black patients (after controlling for other serious health conditions and neighborhood income) were less likely to have severe illness, die, or be discharged to hospice compared to White patients.

Released: 4-Dec-2020 2:35 PM EST
AANA Commends CDC on Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to Healthcare Personnel
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) commends the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC's) team of advisors on prioritizing frontline healthcare personnel and residents of long-term facilities for the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Released: 4-Dec-2020 1:50 PM EST
COVID-19 in Victorian schools and childcare mainly driven by community transmission
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Analysis of Victorian data by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute suggests that COVID-19 cases in schools and childcare were mainly driven by community transmission

Released: 4-Dec-2020 12:20 PM EST
Identifying markers of COVID-19 infection using blood tests
University of Seville

Researchers from the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville (IBIS) have presented a study carried out in the Clinical Biochemistry Service of the Virgen del Rocío University Hospital which identifies the values for six biochemical biomarkers that indicate a patient may be infected with SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19).

Released: 4-Dec-2020 12:05 PM EST
Research confirms crucial monitoring assessment is effective for patients with COVID-19
University of Portsmouth

A combined research team from the Universities of Portsmouth and Bournemouth and Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust has shown that an assessment score used to measure a patient's severity of illness can be applied to patients with Covid-19 without modification.

Newswise:Video Embedded flccc-alliance-calls-on-national-health-authorities-to-immediately-review-medical-evidence-showing-the-efficacy-of-ivermectin-for-the-prevention-of-covid-19-and-as-an-early-outpatient-treatment
VIDEO
Released: 4-Dec-2020 12:00 PM EST
FLCCC Alliance Calls on National Health Authorities to Immediately Review Medical Evidence Showing the Efficacy of Ivermectin for the Prevention of COVID-19 and as an Early Outpatient Treatment
Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC Alliance)

“Following the swi. review— and subsequent guidance— by the NIH and theCDC of Ivermectin, we expect that Ivermectin’s widespread, immediate use willallow for a rapid and safe re-opening of businesses and schools across the nation—and quickly reduce the strain on overwhelmed ICUs.” —FLCCC Alliance

Released: 4-Dec-2020 11:50 AM EST
Immunity passports: Ethical conflict and opportunity
University of the Basque Country

Immunity passports are a means of registering whether an individual has developed immunity to COVID-19 and is therefore unlikely to either catch or spread the disease.


Showing results

110 of 4219

close
1.44244