Cell Rep

. 2022 Nov 7;111708.
doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.111708. Online ahead of print.
Shared genetic influences between blood analyte levels and risk of severe COVID-19

Hamzeh M Tanha 1 , Anita Sathyanarayanan 2 , Divya Mehta 2 , Dale R Nyholt 3

AffiliationsFree PMC article


Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) show that genetic factors contribute to the risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and blood analyte levels. Here, we utilize GWAS summary statistics to study the shared genetic influences (pleiotropy) between severe COVID-19 and 344 blood analytes at the genome, gene, and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) levels. Our pleiotropy analyses genetically link blood levels of 71 analytes to severe COVID-19 in at least one of the three levels of investigation-suggesting shared biological mechanisms or causal relationships. Six analytes (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, apolipoprotein B, C-reactive protein, triglycerides, and urate) display evidence of pleiotropy with severe COVID-19 at all three levels. Causality analyses indicate that higher triglycerides levels causally increase the risk of severe COVID-19, thereby providing important support for the use of lipid-lowering drugs such as statins and fibrates to prevent severe COVID-19.

Keywords: CP: Immunology; GWAS; genetics; metabolites; pleiotropy; severe COVID-19; triglycerides.