Genetic and Epigenetic Determinants of COVID-19 Susceptibility: A Systematic Review

Curr Med Chem. 2024 Jan 19. doi: 10.2174/0109298673267890231221100659. Online ahead of print.


Background: The molecular mechanisms regulating coronavirus pathogenesis are complex, including virus-host interactions associated with replication and innate immune control. However, some genetic and epigenetic conditions associated with comorbidities increase the risk of hospitalization and can prove fatal in infected patients. This systematic review will provide insight into host genetic and epigenetic factors that interfere with COVID-19 expression in light of available evidence.

Methods: This study conducted a systematic review to examine the genetic and epigenetic susceptibility to COVID-19 using a comprehensive approach. Through systematic searches and applying relevant keywords across prominent online databases, including Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science, and Science Direct, we compiled all pertinent papers and reports published in English between December 2019 and June 2023.

Results: The findings reveal that the host's HLA genotype plays a substantial role in determining how viral protein antigens are showcased and the subsequent immune system reaction to these antigens. Within females, genes responsible for immune system regulation are found on the X chromosome, resulting in reduced viral load and inflammation levels when contrasted with males. Possessing blood group A may contribute to an increased susceptibility to contracting COVID-19 as well as a heightened risk of mortality associated with the disease. The capacity of SARS-CoV-2 involves inhibiting the antiviral interferon (IFN) reactions, resulting in uncontrolled viral multiplication.

Conclusion: There is a notable absence of research into the gender-related predisposition to infection, necessitating a thorough examination. According to the available literature, a significant portion of individuals affected by the ailment or displaying severe ramifications already had suppressed immune systems, categorizing them as a group with elevated risk.

Keywords: COVID-19; comorbidities; epigenetic; genetic; molecular mechanisms.; novel coronavirus.