What is it about?

Many researchers have tried to understand COVID-19 by studying the genes within the virus itself. But it is equally important to analyze the role that human genes play in the disease and its transmission. In this article, the authors review the COVID-19 pandemic from a human genetic perspective. First, they use the Human Protein Atlas, a publicly available dataset on the structure and function of human proteins. In the Atlas, they check which types of cells produce higher levels of the protein called ACE2. This is important because the novel coronavirus uses the ACE2 protein receptor to enter into human cells and cause disease. The distribution of ACE2 in our bodies highlights which organs are most likely to be affected by COVID-19 and reveals clues about who may be at greater risk of getting more severe disease. The researchers also devised a strategy to statistically analyze human gene information for identifying potential medicines for COVID-19.

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Why is it important?

This study reveals insights that will help guide future research and clinical practice. Overall, the genetic roadmap that the authors have drafted is applicable not only to COVID-19, but also to other viral diseases with known protein receptors. Human genetics seem to be the key to figuring out important aspects of viral disease transmission, infection, risk of infection, and medicine discovery. KEY TAKEAWAY: Human genetics will play a crucial role in better understanding COVID-19 and future disease outbreaks. This study takes us one more step towards this.

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This page is a summary of: The COVID-19 Pandemic from a Human Genetic Perspective, Journal of Proteome Research, October 2020, American Chemical Society (ACS), DOI: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.0c00671.
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