The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) first emerged in Hubei province of China in December 2019 and spread rapidly to other parts of the world, causing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) is recognized as the host receptor used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter its target cells. Recent studies suggest that ACE2 gene polymorphisms might be candidates for genetic susceptibility of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The aim of the study was to evaluate the influence of ACE2 polymorphisms on COVID-19 disease risk and severity.
Results In our study we confirmed that there is a statistically significant increased risk of a more severe disease course of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with the need for hospitalization in the intensive care unit for patients with specific polymorphisms of the ACE2 gene. The most significant correlation was found for variant ACE2 rs2285666 (AA allele, OR=2.12, p=0.0189) and ACE2 rs2074192 (TT allele, OR=2.05, p=0.0016), and also for ACE2 rs4646174 (GG allele, OR=1.93, p=0.0016), ACE2 rs4646156 (TT allele OR=1.71, p=0.008) and ACE2 rs2158083 (TT allele OR=1.84, p=0.0025).
Conclusions In conclusion, our findings identify that certain ACE2 polymorphisms impact the severity of COVID-19 disease independently of other well-known risk factors.