A team of Russian scientists from the Higher School of Economics (HSE), Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University and the Filatov City Clinical Hospital No. 15 have established a link between a number of human genes and the severity of COVID-19.

As a result of the study, a mathematical model was created to determine the strength of the body's immune response and, accordingly, the risk index for the transmission of coronavirus infection in a complex form.

This is reported in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

To study the cellular immune response to coronavirus, a team of researchers performed a genetic blood test of 111 deceased patients with COVID-19 and 428 healthy volunteers (control group).

As a result, a relationship was found between the severity of the course of the disease and a set of genes (HLA-I class alleles), unique for each person, consisting of six molecules.

  • To study the cellular immune response to coronavirus, scientists conducted a genetic analysis of the blood of deceased and healthy patients

  • RIA News

  • © Evgeny Odinokov

According to scientists, it depends on the set of alleles how quickly and efficiently immune cells will detect and destroy infected cells.

People with a kit that does not recognize the coronavirus is more likely to have a severe course of the disease.

A mathematical model was developed using machine learning methods (using artificial intelligence) based on the obtained sample, which makes it possible to establish the strength of the cellular immune response to coronavirus.

As a result, a risk index was developed with a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is the minimum, and 100 is the maximum risk of a disease with severe consequences.

Comparison with the real clinical picture showed that the predictive model is very effective.

High prediction accuracy is confirmed by the results of applying the model to an independent sample of 45 patients

from Madrid (Spanish experts provided data to the research team).

It turned out that the risk index in patients with severe COVID-19 was significantly higher than in patients with moderate to mild disease.

Also, according to the authors of the study, using the developed model, it will be possible to assess the health risks that can cause mutations in coronavirus strains. 

“In addition to the relationships we found between the genotype and the severity of COVID-19, the proposed approach will also allow us to assess how this or that COVID-19 mutation can affect the formation of T-cell immunity to the virus.

For example, it will be possible to identify groups of people for whom infection with new strains of SARS-CoV-2 can lead to a more severe form of the disease, ”explained Alexander Tonevitsky, Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology at the Higher School of Economics.