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FIMM has launched a COVID-19 host genetics initiative

Andrea Ganna

The Institute for Molecular Medicine in Finland (FIMM) has launched a community effort to identify genetic variants associated with COVID-19 susceptibility and severity.

The mission of this new initiative is to aggregate genetic information about patients infected by COVID-19 to fuel scientific discovery. FIMM will genotype samples for free and make the results immediately available to the scientific community.

”We hope that by finding genetic mutations associated with susceptibility and severity for COVID-19 we can help to identify key genes. This will facilitate drug repurposing, for example by prioritizing drugs that already target those genes. Moreover, human genetic findings can help in prioritizing the development of new drugs,” says Andrea Ganna, FIMM-EMBL Group Leader and researcher specialized in statistical genetics and epidemiology.

An impressive interest from the community

The COVID-19 host genetics initiative brings together the human genetics community to generate, share and analyze data to learn the genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility, severity and outcomes. Such discoveries could help to generate hypotheses for drug repurposing, identify individuals at unusually high or low risk, and contribute to global knowledge of the biology of SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease.

April 9 2020, there were more than 100 studies participating and samples from for example Northern Italy, California and Finland have been collected.

”There has been an impressive interest from the community,” says Ganna.

FIMM has also launched a new portal to allow exploring studies research questions and foster collaborations.

Photo of Andrea Ganna: FIMM