Mayo Clinic Discovery Could Dramatically Change COVID Testing
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Mayo Clinic researchers have made a discovery that could lead to a test for determining who is at most risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
A news release says the research project conducted by the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine found "key human genomic signatures" that could explain why some people develop a severe illness and others only experience mild symptoms from a COVID-19 infection. The researchers discovered "variants” in the genes for ACE2 and TMPRESS2 can lead to an increase or decrease in protein expression." They theorize an increase in protein expression might cause a higher risk of severe impacts from the virus and a decrease could protect a person from COVID-19's most serious effects.
"COVID-19 is a master of frequency in changing the sequences of its genes, but that only tells half of the story. Our findings suggest that the virus’s interaction with proteins encoded by the human genome may also be a contributor to a person’s disease outcome," says Lingxin Zhang, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a researcher in the Pharmacogenomics Program of the Center for Individualized Medicine.
Dr. Zhang says the research findings can now be "applied to DNA sequence data for patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) to potentially determine the degree of susceptibility to the disease." The study findings were published in the Journal Human Molecular Genetics.