In April, together with the Central Clinical Hospital of the Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration in Warsaw, we began works on a COVID-19 research project.
The study aims to develop of a new diagnostic test that will evaluate individual genetic predisposition to severe COVID-19 disease.
The project will utilise the power of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) techniques and innovative analytical tools including artificial intelligence (AI) to identify genetic markers that can influence the course of COVID-19 development, and to study the correlation between susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and comorbidities.
Today, the most common genetic diagnostics method is targeted sequencing, i.e. analysis of single mutations in specific genes or their groups. Unfortunately, studying selected individual mutations has enormous limitations, since many pathogenic changes in other parts of the genome are not detected, despite the fact they may have significant consequences.
Whole-genome sequencing is an advanced analytical tool that allows diagnosticians to access all information contained in the genome, the entire sequence of our DNA. Using this technique will help to identify genetic markers that can influence the course of COVID-19 disease.
Some people, despite having been in close contact with COVID-19 patients, develop very mild or no COVID-19 symptoms at all. Others experience a cough, high fever and breathing problems and often require hospitalisation.
Because patients with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are considered to be at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms, one of the project’s goals is to verify whether their genomes may indicate increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV2 infection.
The COVID-19 host genetics initiative brings together the human genetics community to generate, share, and analyze data to learn the genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility, severity, and outcomes.
The consortium consists of 152 renowned research centers from around the world (data from 7.05.2020), including Rockefeller University, the University of California in Los Angeles, Imperial College in London and Yale School of Medicine and keeps growing.
Provide an environment to foster the sharing of resources to facilitate COVID-19 host genetics research
Organise analytical activities to identify genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility and severity
Provide a platform to share the results from all activities, to benefit the broader scientific community
MNM Diagnostics, is the first and (so far) the only research unit from Poland that has become part of the initiative. We perform sequencing and share obtained results with the initiative partners on behalf of Polish research centres that would like to participate in the works of this international group.
We joined the consortium in order to be able to share the results of the COVID-19 project we began together with the Central Clinical Hospital of the Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration in Warsaw. We believe that understanding patients’ individual genetic predispositions to COVID-19 susceptibility may help to stop the epidemic, and to quickly counteract it in case of its return in the future.
Understanding genomic variants of patients who developed severe COVID-19 symptoms may help us to design a quick, simple and inexpensive diagnostic test. It will help to assess patients’ genetic predisposition for developing mild or severe COVID-19 symptoms.