Next-generation sequencing of host genetics risk factors associated with COVID-19 severity and long-COVID in Colombian population

Mariana Angulo-Aguado, Juan Camilo Carrillo-Martinez, Nora Constanza Contreras-Bravo, Adrien Morel, Katherine Parra-Abaunza, William Usaquén, Dora Janeth Fonseca-Mendoza, Oscar Ortega-Recalde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was considered a major public health burden worldwide. Multiple studies have shown that susceptibility to severe infections and the development of long-term symptoms is significantly influenced by viral and host factors. These findings have highlighted the potential of host genetic markers to identify high-risk individuals and develop target interventions to reduce morbimortality. Despite its importance, genetic host factors remain largely understudied in Latin-American populations. Using a case-control design and a custom next-generation sequencing (NGS) panel encompassing 81 genetic variants and 74 genes previously associated with COVID-19 severity and long-COVID, we analyzed 56 individuals with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 and 56 severe and critical cases. In agreement with previous studies, our results support the association between several clinical variables, including male sex, obesity and common symptoms like cough and dyspnea, and severe COVID-19. Remarkably, thirteen genetic variants showed an association with COVID-19 severity. Among these variants, rs11385942 (p < 0.01; OR = 10.88; 95% CI = 1.36-86.51) located in the LZTFL1 gene, and rs35775079 (p = 0.02; OR = 8.53; 95% CI = 1.05-69.45) located in CCR3 showed the strongest associations. Various respiratory and systemic symptoms, along with the rs8178521 variant (p < 0.01; OR = 2.51; 95% CI = 1.27-4.94) in the IL10RB gene, were significantly associated with the presence of long-COVID. The results of the predictive model comparison showed that the mixed model, which incorporates genetic and non-genetic variables, outperforms clinical and genetic models. To our knowledge, this is the first study in Colombia and Latin-America proposing a predictive model for COVID-19 severity and long-COVID based on genomic analysis. Our study highlights the usefulness of genomic approaches to studying host genetic risk factors in specific populations. The methodology used allowed us to validate several genetic variants previously associated with COVID-19 severity and long-COVID. Finally, the integrated model illustrates the importance of considering genetic factors in precision medicine of infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8497
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Apr 2024


  • Male
  • Humans
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Colombia/epidemiology
  • Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Risk Factors


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