Genome-wide association study of COVID-19 severity among the Chinese population


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes a broad clinical spectrum of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The development of COVID-19 may be the result of a complex interaction between the microbial, environmental, and host genetic components. To reveal genetic determinants of susceptibility to COVID-19 severity in the Chinese population, we performed a genome-wide association study on 885 severe or critical COVID-19 patients (cases) and 546 mild or moderate patients (controls) from two hospitals, Huoshenshan and Union hospitals at Wuhan city in China. We identified two loci on chromosome 11q23.3 and 11q14.2, which are significantly associated with the COVID-19 severity in the meta-analyses of the two cohorts (index rs1712779 odds ratio [OR] = 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38-0.63 for T allele; P = 1.38 × 10-8; and index rs10831496 OR = 1.66; 95% CI, 1.38-1.98 for A allele; P = 4.04 × 10-8, respectively). The results for rs1712779 were validated in other two small COVID-19 cohorts in the Asian populations (P = 0.029 and 0.031, respectively). Furthermore, we identified significant eQTL associations for REXO2, C11orf71, NNMT, and CADM1 at 11q23.3, and CTSC at 11q14.2, respectively. In conclusion, our findings highlight two loci at 11q23.3 and 11q14.2 conferring susceptibility to the severity of COVID-19, which might provide novel insights into the pathogenesis and clinical treatment of this disease.

Cell Discovery
Siyang Liu
Siyang Liu
Associate Professor, School of Public Health (Shenzhen), Sun Yat-sen University

Focused on human genomics and bioinformatics research