Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-associated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been the subject of a large number of studies in recent times. Here, starting from the evidence that in Italy, the areas with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases were those with the highest incidence of malaria in the early 1900's, we explore possible inverse relationships between malaria and COVID-19. Indeed, some genetic variants, which have been demonstrated to give an advantage against malaria, can also play a role in the incidence and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections (e.g., the ACE2 receptor). To verify this scientific hypothesis, we here use public data from whole-genome sequencing (WGS) experiments to extrapolate the genetic information of 46 world populations with matched COVID-19 data. In particular, we focus on 47 genes, including ACE2 and genes which have previously been reported to play a role in malaria. Only common variants (>5%) in at least 30% of the selected populations were considered, and, for this subset, we correlate the intra-population allele frequency with the COVID-19 data (cases/million inhabitants), eventually pinpointing meaningful variants in 6 genes. This study allows us to distinguish between positive and negative correlations, i.e., variants whose frequency significantly increases with increasing or decreasing COVID-19 cases. Finally, we discuss the possible molecular mechanisms associated with these variants and advance potential therapeutic options, which may help fight and/or prevent COVID-19.

Rusmini M., Uva P., Amoroso A., Tolomeo M., Cavalli A. (2021). How Genetics Might Explain the Unusual Link Between Malaria and COVID-19. FRONTIERS IN MEDICINE, 8, N/A-N/A [10.3389/fmed.2021.650231].

How Genetics Might Explain the Unusual Link Between Malaria and COVID-19

Cavalli A.
2021

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-associated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been the subject of a large number of studies in recent times. Here, starting from the evidence that in Italy, the areas with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases were those with the highest incidence of malaria in the early 1900's, we explore possible inverse relationships between malaria and COVID-19. Indeed, some genetic variants, which have been demonstrated to give an advantage against malaria, can also play a role in the incidence and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections (e.g., the ACE2 receptor). To verify this scientific hypothesis, we here use public data from whole-genome sequencing (WGS) experiments to extrapolate the genetic information of 46 world populations with matched COVID-19 data. In particular, we focus on 47 genes, including ACE2 and genes which have previously been reported to play a role in malaria. Only common variants (>5%) in at least 30% of the selected populations were considered, and, for this subset, we correlate the intra-population allele frequency with the COVID-19 data (cases/million inhabitants), eventually pinpointing meaningful variants in 6 genes. This study allows us to distinguish between positive and negative correlations, i.e., variants whose frequency significantly increases with increasing or decreasing COVID-19 cases. Finally, we discuss the possible molecular mechanisms associated with these variants and advance potential therapeutic options, which may help fight and/or prevent COVID-19.
2021
Rusmini M., Uva P., Amoroso A., Tolomeo M., Cavalli A. (2021). How Genetics Might Explain the Unusual Link Between Malaria and COVID-19. FRONTIERS IN MEDICINE, 8, N/A-N/A [10.3389/fmed.2021.650231].
Rusmini M.; Uva P.; Amoroso A.; Tolomeo M.; Cavalli A.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Rusmini_etal2021.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipo: Versione (PDF) editoriale
Licenza: Licenza per accesso libero gratuito
Dimensione 2.31 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.31 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/831601
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 10
  • Scopus 13
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 12
social impact