Audio Interview

Approaches for elucidating genetic susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2

Published on July 30, 2020   12 min

Other Talks in the Series: Research and Clinical Interviews

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Interviewer: Dr. Baillie, thank you for taking the time to record this interview on the genetics of susceptibility to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Could you give a quick overview of some of the techniques and technologies that you are using in the study? Dr. Baillie: Hi, yes, we're using two main techniques to understand the genetics of susceptibility to severe disease with COVID-19. They are: microarray genotyping and whole-genome sequencing. I suppose the other technical aspect of the study that it's important not to overlook is the acquisition of the samples themselves from the right patients. That's really where most of our efforts are going, into acquiring both consent and DNA samples from the most critically ill patients with COVID-19, across multiple countries. Interviewer: Are you doing this in comparison to people who are either asymptomatic or are not as affected by the virus? Dr. Baillie: That's right. There are two comparisons that we can do. Being pragmatic, the first is to compare the extremely susceptible people (who are, by definition, the people who end up being cared for in intensive care units) with the general population. To ask the question: what is it about those people that rendered them so susceptible to the virus that they've ended up requiring life support? A neater study design (but slightly more technically difficult to achieve) is to compare those people to individuals who either had mild disease or had asymptomatic disease. But that actually makes up quite a large proportion of the population.
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Approaches for elucidating genetic susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2

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