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Contributing to the world's largest GWAS of COVID-19 as the largest group in Asia

Identification of genetic polymorphisms associated with the severity of novel coronavirus infections

A new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) continues to pose a threat to the spread of the disease despite the growing availability of vaccines. In May 2020, Joint Research Coronavirus Task Force, a collaborative research group established by experts from different disciplines including infectious diseases, virology, molecular genetics, genomic medicine, computational science, and genetic statistics, reported the leading candidates for factors that contribute to the severity of novel coronavirus infections in the Japanese population.

Joint Research Coronavirus Task Force not only conducts multicenter studies in Japan, but also participates in the world's largest genome-wide association analysis (GWAS) of COVID-19 by the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative, an international collaborative research group. Although most of the groups participating in this international collaboration are mainly from Europe and the United States, the contribution of Joint Research Coronavirus Task Force, as the largest research group in Asia, has attracted strong attention.

In this international collaborative study, about 50,000 COVID-19 patients and about 2 million controls were analyzed, and 13 genetic polymorphisms (variants) associated with COVID-19 severity were identified, two of which were more frequent in the East Asian and South Asian populations than in the European population, showing the importance of international collaborative studies targeting diverse populations.

Published in: Nature (ONLINE) Mapping the human genetic architecture of COVID-19.

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