Could the CCR5-Delta32 mutation be protective in SARS-CoV-2 infection?

Physiol Res. 2021 Dec 16;70(S2):S249-S252. doi: 10.33549/physiolres.934725.


Increasing evidence points to host genetics as a factor in COVID-19 prevalence and outcome. CCR5 is a receptor for proinflammatory chemokines that are involved in host responses, especially to viruses. The CCR5-delta32 minor allele is an interesting variant, given the role of CCR5 in some viral infections, particularly HIV-1. Recent studies of the impact of CCR5-delta32 on COVID-19 risk and severity have yielded contradictory results. This ecologic study shows that the CCR5-delta32 allelic frequency in a European population was significantly negatively correlated with the number of COVID-19 cases (p=0.035) and deaths (p=0.006) during the second pandemic wave. These results suggest that CCR5-delta32 may be protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection, as it is against HIV infection, and could be predictive of COVID-19 risk and severity. Further studies based on samples from populations of different genetic backgrounds are needed to validate these statistically obtained findings.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / genetics*
  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • COVID-19 / mortality
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence
  • Protective Factors
  • Receptors, CCR5 / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • CCR5 protein, human
  • Receptors, CCR5