COVID-19: Gene variant reduces mortality risk by one third

Those who carry a particular gene variant have about a 35% lower risk of dying from a severe course of COVID-19

05-Aug-2022 - Germany

Research teams from the Medical Faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) followed the disease progression of a total of 1570 SARS-CoV-2-positive patients from March 11, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The study team, led by Dr. Birte Möhlendick of the Institute of pharmacogenetics at the University Hospital Essen, has now published the results of the largest German study on Covid-19 in Frontiers in Genetics. The study shows: Those who carry a particular gene variant have about a 35% lower risk of dying from a severe course of COVID-19.

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"These study results are still very relevant," said Prof. Dr. Winfried Siffert, director of the Institute of Pharmacogenetics. "After all, the pandemic is not over yet and we see slightly increasing hospitalization rates again."

Of all study participants, 205 (13%) had a mild course, meaning they could continue treatment as outpatients, while 760 (48%) had to be admitted as inpatients. 292 people (19%) required intensive care, and 313 people died (20%). "As already known, we also observed that younger age and the absence of cardiovascular disease or diabetes reduced the risk of dying by half after infection with SARS-CoV-2," summarizes study leader Dr. Möhlendick. "But particularly surprising, and so far a completely new finding, is that the gene variant "GNB3 TT" reduces the risk of dying by 35%." This variant is carried by about 10% of the European population.

In collaboration with the Department of Infectious Diseases and the Institute of Transfusion Medicine, the researchers were also able to show that the immune cells of people with a mild course reacted more strongly to the coronavirus in laboratory experiments than the cells of people with severe courses of the disease. "We were also able to show," Dr. Möhlendick continued, "that the cells of people with the GNB3 TT genotype reacted most strongly to the coronavirus which may explain why the risk of death is so greatly reduced in these gene carriers."

Studies are currently underway to determine which other gene variants have an impact on COVID-19 disease.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

Original publication

The GNB3 c.825C>T (rs5443) polymorphism and protection against fatal outcome of corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Front. Genet. 2022 July 15; 960731. Möhlendick B, Schönfelder K, Zacher C, Elsner C, Rohn H, Konik MJ, Thümmler L, Rebmann V, Lindemann M, Jöckel KH, Siffert W.

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