Ground-breaking study identifies novel drug targets for long Covid

Long Covid

A study into long Covid has provided the first detailed genetic insights into the condition and its commonalities with other diseases, including myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

Despite considerable global research, studies have so far failed to identify the detailed genetic risk factors for long Covid, the mechanisms behind the disease, or any common pathophysiology with other conditions.

PrecisionLife used a combinatorial analytics approach to compare subpopulations of long Covid patients from Sano Genetics’ long Covid GOLD study.

The analysis identified 73 genes that were highly associated with severe and fatigue dominant forms of the disease. Of these, nine genes have prior associations to acute Covid-19 and 14 were differentially expressed in a transcriptomic analysis of long Covid patients.

PrecisionLife also compared the results to over 170 neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, autoimmune, and metabolic diseases. This analysis highlighted long Covid risk genes that were also implicated in a wide range of diseases and found that nine genes were also found in a recent combinatorial analysis of ME/CFS patients.

Among the 73 genes, 42 have potential for novel drug discovery approaches, with 13 of these already targeted by drugs in clinical development pipelines. PrecisionLife is now evaluating the repurposing potential of these targets for use in treating long Covid and ME/CFS.

Dr Steve Gardner, CEO of PrecisionLife, said: “Understanding the complex biology of heterogeneous diseases is key to creating better diagnostic and treatment options for patients. These ground-breaking results build upon the genetic findings from previous combinatorial analyses of severe acute Covid-19 and ME/CFS patient populations. Using combinatorial analytics to gain unprecedented insight into the drivers of disease biology, we can make a real impact for millions of patients who are desperately seeking accurate diagnosis and better treatments.”

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