Deciphering the host genetic factors conferring susceptibility to severe COVID-19 using exome sequencing

Uslu K., Ozcelik F., Zararsiz G., Eldem V., Cephe A., Sahin I. O., ...More

GENES AND IMMUNITY, vol.25, no.1, pp.14-42, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41435-023-00232-9
  • Journal Name: GENES AND IMMUNITY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.14-42
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


The COVID-19 pandemic remains a significant public health concern despite the new vaccines and therapeutics. The clinical course of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection is highly variable and influenced by several factors related to the virus and the host. Numerous genetic studies, including candidate gene, exome, and genome sequencing studies, genome-wide association studies, and other omics efforts, have proposed various Mendelian and non-Mendelian associations with COVID-19 course. In this study, we conducted whole-exome sequencing on 90 unvaccinated patients from Turkey with no known comorbidities associated with severe COVID-19. Of these patients, 30 had severe, 30 had moderate, and 30 had mild/asymptomatic disease. We identified rare variants in genes associated with SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and pathogenesis, with an emphasis on genes related to the regulation of inflammation, and discussed these in the context of the clinical course of the patients. In addition, we compared the frequencies of common variants between each group. Even though no variant remained statistically significant after correction for multiple testing, we observed that certain previously associated genes and variants showed significant associations before correction. Our study contributes to the existing literature regarding the genetic susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. Future studies would be beneficial characterizing the host genetic properties in different populations.