Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Common, and Linked to Severe COVID-19 Risk

Researchers have tied three common gene variants to increased risk of severe COVID-19, Science reports.

A University of Edinburgh-led team conducted a genome-wide association study of more than 2,000 patients with severe COVID-19. As they report in a preprint posted to MedRxiv, the researchers homed in on three loci: one within the DPP9 gene, which encodes dipeptidyl peptidase 9; one within a gene cluster encoding the antiviral restriction enzyme activators OAS1, OAS2, and OAS3; and one in the interferon receptor gene IFNAR2.

Science notes that the IFNAR2 variant the team uncovered is present in about a quarter of Europeans and raises the risk of severe disease by 30 percent, adding this finding is in line with a recent report that rare mutations in interferon genes like IFNAR2 are associated with severe disease. It further reports that the OAS gene cluster finding is more surprising, as the OAS genes encode proteins that activate enzymes that typically break down viral genomes.

Previous studies have also implicated regions on chromosome 3 and in the ABO blood locus.

Johns Hopkins University's Priya Duggal tells Science that while these common gene variants could point to treatments, their overall influence on who becomes ill may be limited. 

The Scan

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.

Topical Compound to Block EGFR Inhibitors May Ease Skin Toxicities, Study Finds

A topical treatment described in Science Translational Medicine may limit skin toxicities seen with EGFR inhibitor therapy.

Dozen Genetic Loci Linked to Preeclampsia Risk in New GWAS

An analysis of genome-wide association study data in JAMA Cardiology finds genetic loci linked to preeclampsia that have ties to blood pressure.

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.