An international team of researchers has found 5 genes that are more active in young people with severe COVID-19 symptoms than in people with less severe symptoms. The results of this study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, explain the reasons for possible complications in young people that are likely to be caused by differences in DNA.
The study authors analyzed blood plasma samples from 72 young hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 47 of whom were critically ill. None of the volunteers had any medical conditions that could explain their serious condition. The scientists also collected samples from 22 infected young people who had little or no symptoms.
Scientists performed genome-wide sequencing of the samples, as well as RNA sequencing. In addition, they analyzed a collection of proteins, cytokines and white blood cell groups. They also used machine learning to uncover patterns in patients’ genes. So they were able to identify five genes that were most active in patients with severe symptoms. One, ADAM9, was found to be the most common.
When ADAM9 was blocked in human lung tissue in vitro, the virus was less efficient at replicating itself. The researchers suggest that all 5 genes they have identified require deeper study, especially ADAM9.