Some patients with COVID-19 experience severe complications, such as organ damage, shortness of breath, neurological impairment and chronic fatigue. A team of researchers withinÂ Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized MedicineÂ is contributing to the global effort of using advanced genetic sequencing to find out which genes influence disease outcomes.
â€œOur findings will be crucial in treating and caring for COVID-19 survivors, as well as to try to prevent lingering complications in newly infected people,â€� saysÂ Konstantinos Lazaridis, M.D., the Everett J. and Jane M. Hauck associate director of Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.Â
Dr. Lazaridis and his team are building a library of genomic sequencing data of consented patients who tested positive for COVID-19. They are using a comprehensive technology that can analyze 20,000 genes that code for proteins, plus hundreds of thousands of other genetic areas outside the protein-coding regions that are known to be informative, and thus have the most impact on a person’s health and disease.
â€œOur aim is to answer questions about genetic predisposition of developing the infection and the long-term outcomes of the disease,â€� he says. â€œWe may be in a position to say why some patients with COVID-19 develop blood clots or a severe inflammatory reaction. Or, why some patients have neurologic impairment while others show no symptoms at all.â€�
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Another research team has developed an integrated model to study the genomic and non-genomic factors in the blood of people exposed to COVID-19 to understand a personâ€™s likelihood of developing an infection, as well as the anticipated course of the disease.
â€œClinical factors such as age, race, underlying conditions and certain blood markers have been reported to be associated with increased vulnerability to infection and mortality,â€� saysÂ Pooja Advani, M.B.B.S., M.D., who serves in the Department of Hematology and Oncology.
Dr. Advani says the fundamental question that remains unanswered is, post-exposure, who will develop the infection, and among these people, who is less likely to have a severe versus asymptomatic, or mildly symptomatic infection.
Read the rest of the article on the Center for Individualized Medicine blog.
Other Mayo Clinic medical research websites:
- Research at Mayo Clinic
- Discoveryâ€™s Edge
- Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine
- Center for Regenerative Medicine
- Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery
Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.
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