According to a new study, potentially damaging variations in the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 genes may be associated with an increased risk of severe Covid-19.
A new study by the Cleveland Clinic in the United States has identified genetic factors that may influence Covid-19 susceptibility. Published on Wednesday (15) in BMC Medicine, the article may help in the search for personalized treatments for Covid-19.
In the study, the team evaluated the DNA polymorphisms (sequence variations) of 81,000 people from three different gene banks. The goal was to detect variations in the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 genes, which produce enzymes linked to infection by the new coronavirus – these enzymes allow the microorganism to enter human cells, infecting them.
The researchers identified multiple potentially damaging polymorphisms in both genes, which suggests a relationship between DNA and the likelihood of suffering from severe Covid-19. According to the scientists, several variants of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 have been associated with health conditions considered risk factors for Covid-19, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
However, this study was conducted with data from the general population, and not specifically with those infected with the new coronavirus. Scientists intend to continue studying the topic in search of more specific genetic information about patients with severe Covid-19.
“Because we currently have no approved drugs for COVID-19, repurposing already approved drugs could be an efficient and cost-effective approach to developing prevention and treatment strategies,” said Feixiong Cheng, study leader, Ph.D., and researcher at the Genomic Medicine Institute, in a statement. “The more we know about the genetic factors influencing COVID-19 susceptibility, the better we will be able to determine the clinical efficacy of potential treatments.”