SARS-CoV2 has caused the current pandemic of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide. Clinical outcomes of COVID-19 illness range broadly from asymptotic and mild to a life-threatening situation. This casts uncertainties for defining host determinants underlying the disease severity. Recent genetic analyses based on extensive clinical sample cohorts using genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and high throughput sequencing curation revealed genetic errors and gene loci associated with about 20% of life-threatening COVID-19 cases. Significantly, most of these critical genetic loci are enriched in two immune signaling pathways, i.e., interferon-mediated antiviral signaling and chemokine-mediated/inflammatory signaling. In line with these genetic profiling studies, the broad spectrum of COVID-19 illness could be explained by immuno-pathological regulation of these critical immunogenetic pathways through various epigenetic mechanisms, which further interconnect to other vital components such as those in the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) because of its direct interaction with the virus causing COVID-19. Together, key genes unraveled by genetic profiling may provide targets for precisely early risk diagnosis and prophylactic design to relieve severe COVID-19. The confounding epigenetic mechanisms may be key to understanding the clinical broadness of COVID-19 illness.
McCoy, K.; Peterson, A.; Tian, Y.; Sang, Y. Immunogenetic Association Underlying Severe COVID-19. Vaccines 2020, 8, 700. https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8040700