Biotechs partner to understand genetics of long Covid   

A partnership between life sciences companies PrecisionLife and Sano Genetics aims to drive insights into the genetics of long Covid and potentially identify new treatments.  

The companies will analyse Sano Genetics’ data of 3,000 adults suffering from long Covid symptoms using PrecisionLife’s combinatorial analytics platform to identify risk-factors and potential drug targets.  

The project will aim to identify the drivers of the disease and advance our understanding of why some patients infected with Covid-19 are at risk of developing long Covid symptoms. The companies also hope to discover novel drug targets and drug repositioning candidates with associated patient stratification biomarkers that could lead to new treatments to help long Covid sufferers.  

Scientists’ understanding of long Covid is limited and it’s not understood why some people are more at risk of developing lasting symptoms than others. In the UK, it’s estimated that around 1.8 million people infected with the virus have gone on to experience long Covid1. 

Official comments 

Dr Patrick Short, CEO and co-founder of Sano Genetics, said: “Learning to live with Covid and manage its health consequences has long term public health and economic implications. An estimated 1.7 million people in the UK have reported experiences of long Covid, with symptoms lasting longer than four weeks.   

“Understanding how our genetics influence our response to Covid-19 is key to better protecting vulnerable people and developing effective treatments. PrecisionLife’s analysis of Sano Genetics’ data will enable this deep biological understanding.”  

Dr Steve Gardner, CEO of PrecisionLife, said: “Long Covid is a major public health issue. Most sufferers have no clear path for engaging with the healthcare system, as diagnosis is uncertain and the complex symptoms and causes of the disease are not yet fully understood. In our 2020 study, we noted a range of cardiovascular, immunological, and neurological changes in Covid-19 patients and want to understand whether these are transient or permanent.   

“We are confident that this study into the long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection, working in partnership with Sano Genetics, will deliver valuable insights to enable a better understanding of long Covid vulnerabilities and ultimately ensure that personalised treatments are directed towards those patients that need them most.”  

Early in the pandemic, PrecisionLife identified 68 genes2 that were associated with serious disease and hospitalisation in Covid-19 patients. Since then, over 70% of these gene targets have been independently validated by other research projects around the world. In addition, PrecisionLife revealed opportunities for 29 approved drugs to be repurposed as Covid-19 treatments targeting the associated genes, 13 of which are being evaluated in clinical trials with Covid-19 patients. 

 References  

1:https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/prevalenceofongoingsymptomsfollowingcoronaviruscovid19infectionintheuk/6may2022 

2: Taylor, K., Das, S., Pearson, M., Kozubek, J., Pawlowski, M., Jensen, C.E., Skowron, Z., Møller, G.L., Strivens, M. and Gardner, S. (2020). Analysis of genetic host response risk factors in severe COVID-19 patients. medRx

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