Genetic pattern of the COVID-19 course and reinfection

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A new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) broke out at the end of 2019 in Wuhan (China). The disease has become a global pandemic and claimed more than 6 million lives after spreading rapidly around the world. Issues related to the complicated course of COVID-19 mechanisms continue to be the subject of active study. It is known that morbidity and mortality increase dramatically with increasing age and concomitant diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Although most infected people recover, even young and otherwise healthy patients can get sick with this disease. In this regard, an urgent task is to search for specific genetic factors that can explain the predisposition of people to infection and the development of a severe COVID-19 form. Human genetic determinants can provide the scientific basis for disease prediction and the development of personalized therapies to counteract the epidemic. In addition, cases of repeated infection with SARS-CoV-2 are increasingly being registered, which occurs 1–6 months after initial infection on average and depends on the virus genome structure. Studies conducted on sequencing viral genomes have shown that some patients were re-infected with the same strain of coronavirus, while others were different. This, in turn, causes researchers concerns about the effectiveness of immunity after infection and vaccine reliability. The genetic characteristics of a person and a virus commonly determine the tendency for reinfection. It is difficult to determine the true COVID-19 reinfection prevalence, which is explained by the low detectability of asymptomatic reinfection and the fact that many patients with a mild course of the disease were not tested at an early stage of the pandemic. Therefore, the true prevalence of reinfection with COVID-19 does not reflect the current reality. There are many more cases of reinfection than are described in the literature. In this regard, the true contribution of a virus’ genetic features to reinfection of COVID-19 can be determined only after population studies, and when developing immunization programs against a COVID-19, it is necessary to take into account the prevalence of reinfection in the population.

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About the authors

Olga V. Krusko

Military Innovative Technopolis «ERA»

ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9111-7914
SPIN-code: 4702-6002

Candidate of Biological Sciences

Russian Federation, Anapa

Evgenia A. Novikova

Scientific Centre for Family Health and Human Reproduction Problems

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9353-7928
SPIN-code: 8473-7941

Research Assistant

Russian Federation, Irkutsk

Pyotr K. Potapov

Military Innovative Technopolis «ERA»

SPIN-code: 5979-4490

Candidate of Medical Sciences

Russian Federation, Anapa

Alla G. Petrova

Scientific Centre for Family Health and Human Reproduction Problems

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7965-8061
SPIN-code: 3962-5093

Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor

Russian Federation, Irkutsk


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