HLA Allele Frequencies and Association with Severity of COVID-19 Infection in Northern Italian Patients

Cells. 2022 May 30;11(11):1792. doi: 10.3390/cells11111792.


HLA allelic distribution was analysed in a cohort of 96 Northern Italian subjects (53M/43F) (mean age 59.9 ± 13.3 years) from Lombardy who developed COVID-19 during the first two pandemic waves to investigate possible correlations between HLA molecules and disease severity. An important role of HLA- B and HLA-C loci in modulating the clinical severity of COVID-19 disease was identified. In particular, the HLA-B07 supertype was observed to be associated with a significant risk for severe disease; conversely, the HLA-B27 supertype and C*12:02 allele played a protective role as they were associated with milder disease. These associations were confirmed after applying a multinomial regression analysis to adjust the correlation for age, gender and comorbidities with COVID-19 severity. Though the power of results is limited by the small sample size, data herein contribute to shedding light on the role played by genetic background in COVID-19 infection.

Keywords: COVID-19; HLA; SARS-CoV-2; disease severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • COVID-19* / genetics
  • Gene Frequency
  • HLA-B Antigens* / genetics
  • HLA-C Antigens* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • HLA-B Antigens
  • HLA-C Antigens

Grant support

This study was funded by the Ministry of Health (Ricerca Corrente 2021). The funders did not have any influence in the design, implementation, analysis or interpretation of the data in this study.