A team of researchers at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have discovered that multiple genetic mutations could be responsible for the Covid-19 susceptibility in India.
The team led by Professor Gyaneshwer Chaubey analysed the TMPRSS2 gene among global populations and found out that it accounted for the Covid-19 severity in the Indian population.
The study has been published in the international journal “Infection, Genetics, and Evolution”.
Professor Chaubey said that the coronavirus (SARS-CoV2), the causative agent for Covid-19, employs the ACE2 receptor to enter the host cell through S protein, priming by a serine protease, TMPRSS2.
Mutation in the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 genes accounts for the disparity in disease susceptibility between populations.
The team also included Professor Chaubey’s lab scientists Rudra Kumar Pandey, Anshika Srivastava, and Prajjval Pratap Singh.
He said that the team analysed next-generation sequencing (NGS) data of 393 global samples.
“Our analysis of phylogenetic relatedness showed a closer affinity of South Asians with the West Eurasian populations; therefore, host disease susceptibility and severity, particularly in the context of TMPRSS2, will be closer to West Eurasian instead of East Eurasians,” said Rudra Kumar Pandey, the first author of the study.
The study has also reported a mutation rs2070788 which significantly increases TMPRSS2 expression in lungs and is associated with the high case fatality rate among Indian populations.
“Thus, ACE2 and TMPRSS2 have an antagonistic role in determining Covid-19 susceptibility among South Asians,” said Professor Chaubey.