GEN-COVID multicenter study aims to identify the genetic variants of the host genome responsible for the clinical variability of patients with COVID-19. This variability to date is only partially related to the age and comorbidities of patients. The primary objective of the study is therefore to identify genetic variants associated with the severity of the disease, while the secondary objective consists in the identification of variants associated with longitudinal disease trajectories. This is a laboratory study that involves the conduct of genetic investigations, including whole exome sequencing and genome wide association studies, on human biological material from patients affected by COVID-19. Clinical information useful to describe the level of disease severity will be also collected for each enrolled patient. A total of at least 2,000 COVID-19 patients is expected to be included.
The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome caused by SARS-CoV-2, that first appeared in December 2019 in Wuhan, Huanan, Hubei Province of China, has resulted in millions of cases worldwide within a few short months, and rapidly evolving into a real pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic represents an enormous challenge to the world's healthcare systems. Among the European countries, Italy was the first to experience the epidemic wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection, accompanied by a severe clinical picture and a mortality rate reaching 14%. The disease is characterized by a highly heterogeneous phenotypic response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, with the large majority of infected individuals having only mild or even no symptoms. However, the severe cases can rapidly evolve towards a critical respiratory distress syndrome and multiple organ failure. The symptoms of COVID-19 range from fever, cough, sore throat, congestion, and fatigue to shortness of breath, hemoptysis, pneumonia followed by respiratory disorders and septic shocks. The GEN-COVID is a multicentre academic observational study designed to collect and systematize biological samples and clinical data across multiple hospitals and healthcare facilities in Italy with the purpose of deriving patient-level phenotypic and genotypic data. The project aims to identify the genetic determinants of COVID-19 clinical variability studying host genetics. Genetic analyses will include Genome Wide Association Studies, performed by the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland (FIMM), and Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) performed by the University of Siena. SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals (swab virus PCR-positive) showing clinical different severity will be collected. In particular enrolled subjects will include only adults (subjects with age higher or equal to 18 years) with the following clinical status types: asymptomatic individuals, home care patients with mild symptoms and hospitalized patients (i-those requiring invasive ventilation; ii-those requiring non-invasive ventilation i.e. CPAP and BiPAP, and high-flows oxygen therapy; iii- those requiring conventional oxygen therapy, and iv-those not requiring oxygen therapy). Funding. MIUR project "Dipartimenti di Eccellenza 2018-2020" to Department of Medical Biotechnologies University of Siena, Italy; Private donors for COVID research (Italian D.L. n.18 March 17, 2020).
Genetic: Massive parallel sequencing of host genome
Massive parallel sequencing and genotyping of host genome of individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 and showing different clinical outcomes from asymptomatic to severely affected patients in order to identify the genetic determinants of severe COVID-19 and the genetic protective factors.
Inclusion Criteria: - Age > or equal to 18 - SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive on swab
Exclusion Criteria: - none
Alessandra Renieri, MD, PhD
Francesca Mari, MD, PhD
University of Siena