An international research team has identified genetic patterns that could explain why some young and healthy people develop severe and life-threatening forms of COVID-19.
The authors of the research, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and summarized on Tuesday by the EFE agency, recall that, although COVID-19 caused a huge number of deaths worldwide, many of the molecular determinants of this disease remain a mystery, writes agerpres.ro.
For example, the scientific community is still investigating why some patients develop lung failure and develop ATI, while others suffer from only a mild or even asymptomatic form of the disease.
The most vulnerable patients to COVID-19 are the elderly and those with comorbidities (diabetes, cancer, etc.), an idea that has guided vaccination campaigns. However, other critical cases may occur, including in younger adults without comorbidities and who do not seem to differ from each other in terms of medical condition.
To understand this phenomenon, Raphael Carapito, from the University of Strasbourg (France), and his colleagues in a research team performed a multiomic analysis – simultaneous detection of genetic variations and protein expression – combined with artificial intelligence in a cohort. of 72 French patients under the age of 50 who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and had no comorbidities.
Blood samples were examined from 47 critically ill COVID-19 patients who required mechanical ventilation at ATI, from 25 critically ill patients and 22 healthy individuals.
Critically ill patients showed a stronger inflammatory process, increased blood clotting and a significant intensification of the activity of five genes.
The more prominent genetic signature related to the critical form of COVID-19 was increased expression of the ADAM9 gene, a validated signature and a separate cohort of 81 critical cases of COVID-19 and 73 cured cases.
The researchers also found that inactivity of the ADAM9 gene in SARS-CoV-2-infected lung epithelial cells slowed the replication of this coronavirus, suggesting that this gene should be further studied as a possible therapeutic target.
“By providing an insight into an important unanswered question in the ongoing pandemic, the results of this study of 72 patients could serve as a basis for investigating new strategies for diagnosing, predicting and treating the disease,” notes the journal Science Translational Medicine. .