Since its first report in December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has rapidly emerged as a pandemic affecting nearly all countries worldwide. As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, the need to identify genetic risk factors for susceptibility to this serious illness has emerged. Host genetic factors, along with other risk factors may help determine susceptibility to respiratory tract infections. It is hypothesized that the ACE2 gene, encoding angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), is a genetic risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection and is required by the virus to enter cells. Together with ACE2, transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) also play an important role in disease severity. Evaluating the role of genetic variants in determining the direction of respiratory infections will help identify potential drug target candidates for further study in COVID-19 patients. We have summarized the latest reports demonstrating that ACE2 variants, their expression, and epigenetic factors may influence an individual's susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease outcome.
Keywords: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) variants; COVID-19; Epigenetics; SARS-CoV-2 infection; Serine 2 (TMPRSS2); Transmembrane protease.