The study used a Phenome-wide (PheWAS) analysis in up to 400,000 European ancestry individuals, derived from the UK Biobank, researchers aimed to identify traits and diseases associated with COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. PheWAS analysis allowed the team to construct the predictive COVID-19 genetic score, using the sum of COVID-19 risk alleles for each individual in the UK Biobank. This score was examined against all available traits and diseases in UK Biobank, adjusted for confounders, in a hypothesis-free manner.
The study found that genetically predicted COVID-19 is significantly associated with an 11 per cent increased risk of phlebitis and thrombophlebitis, a 10 per cent increased risk of blood clots in the leg and a 12 per cent increased risk of blood clots in the lung.
Dr. Eirini Marouli, Study lead and Lecturer in Computational Biology at Queen Mary University of London said “This PheWAS was conducted to determine if genetically predicted COVID-19 susceptibility and severity is associated with other diseases and traits, examining all of them in a hypothesis-free way. For COVID-19 susceptibility, we identified an increased risk of phlebitis and thrombophlebitis. In addition to that, we found that general COVID-19 susceptibility was associated with an increased risk of blood clots in leg and lung; factors involved in COVID-19 mortality.”
“The results from our study add valuable information for the identification and stratification of individuals at increased COVID-19 risk and other complications after infection. Our study identifies significant associations of genetically predicted COVID-19 susceptibility with increased blood clot events in the leg and lungs, thrombophlebitis and circulatory diseases. Our findings could have further significance for individual with long-covid complications.”