Ancestry's COVID-19 Study Finds Gene Associated with Men

Ancestry announced a new, preliminary finding stemming from analysis of Ancestry’s COVID-19 Research Study. Ancestry’s scientists have identified a DNA region which may be associated with COVID-19 susceptibility near the IVNS1ABP gene. This association, only present in males, could help explain why the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 seems to take a greater toll on men than women.

In the context of a viral infection like COVID-19, the human immune system is responsible for recognizing that a virus is invading the body and mounting a response. Failures, shortcomings or delays by the immune system can allow the infection to flourish, increasing the severity of the disease.

“Our early analysis points to a gene called IVNS1ABP, that has previously been associated with influenza infections. If this gene is involved in COVID-19 susceptibility, this could suggest that SARS-CoV-2 and influenza may use a similar mechanism to multiply in the host’s cells and could help scientists understand why some people are more seriously affected by the virus,” said Dr. Catherine Ball, Ancestry’s Chief Scientific Officer. “It’s notable that this genetic association is observed only in men — it may be a clue that helps scientists understand why men are more likely to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms.”

Key takeaways:

Scientists are currently trying to understand if an individual’s DNA plays a role in how susceptible he/she is to COVID-19 infection and how sick he/she will become if infected.

Ancestry conducted a study to identify DNA differences that occur at a noticeably higher rate in one group relative to another (i.e., COVID-19 positive versus COVID-19 negative).

Ancestry identified a DNA region that appears to be associated with COVID-19 susceptibility near the IVNS1ABP gene. This DNA region appears to be associated with an increased rate of COVID-19 infection in males but not females.

Ancestry’s COVID-19 Study will continue over the next several months.

Related Articles at

Ancestry Released Update on Their COVID-19 Study

Ancestry Invites You to Help Advance Research to Fight COVID-19

23andMe is Doing a Genetic Study on COVID-19

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