Saturday, November 20, 2021

Common gene variants linked to sepsis and COVID-19 severity in African Americans


 News Release 16-Nov-2021
Penn Medicine researchers identify two pathways to target for disease protection
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Two genetic risk variants that are carried by nearly 40 percent of Black individuals may exacerbate the severity of both sepsis and COVID-19, a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine have found. The findings, published in Immunity, identify two potential pathways to reduce the health disparities driven by these gene mutations.

“Our findings indicate that the APOL1 risk variants could explain an important racial disparity observed in sepsis incidence and severity among Black individuals. Furthermore, our work implies that the identification of subjects with the high-risk APOL1 genotype might be important for disease risk prediction and early intervention,” said the study’s lead author, Katalin Susztak, MD, PhD, a professor of Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension at Penn.


Two variants of the gene APOL1 — G1 and G2 — are found almost exclusively in people of West African descent. Carrying one risk allele imparts resistance against African sleeping sickness, while having two risk alleles significantly increases the risk of developing chronic kidney disease, as well as HIV and COVID- induced glomerular disease, which has been recently studied by the Susztak lab.



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