Two Mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and RNA Polymerase Complex Are Associated With COVID-19 Mortality Risk
Wu, Chloe M.
Cho, Michael M.
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CitationHahn, Georg, Chloe M. Wu, Sanghun Lee, Julian Hecker, Sharon M. Lutz, et al. "Two mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and RNA polymerase complex are associated with COVID-19 mortality risk." Pre-print, 2021.
AbstractSARS-CoV-2 mortality has been extensively studied in relation to host susceptibility. How sequence variations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome affect pathogenicity is poorly understood. Association between whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of the virus and death in patients with SARS-CoV-2 is one potential method of early identification of highly pathogenic strains to target for containment. We analyzed 7,548 single stranded RNA-genomes of SARS-CoV-2 patients in the GISAID database and associated variants with mortality using a logistic regression. In total, evaluating 29,891 sequenced loci of the viral genome for association with patient/host mortality, two loci, at 12,053bp and 25,088bp, achieved genome-wide significance (p-values of 4.09e-09 and 4.41e-23, respectively). Mutations at 25,088bp occur in the S2 subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which plays a key role in viral entry of target host cells. Additionally, mutations at 12,053bp are within the ORF1ab gene, in a region encoding for the protein nsp7, which is necessary to form the RNA polymerase complex responsible for viral replication and transcription. Both mutations alter amino acid coding sequences, potentially imposing structural changes that could enhance viral infectivity and symptom severity, and may be important to consider as targets for therapeutic development. Identification of these highly significant associations, unlikely to occur by chance, may assist with COVID-19 early containment of strains that are potentially highly pathogenic.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367144
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