Background: The effectiveness of barrier function of the respiratory mucosa largely depends on interferons type I (IFNs-Î±/ß) and type III (IFNs-Î»). The IFNs-Î» forms the first level of innate immune protection. The single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) affecting IFN-Î»3 production were found previously. The study aimed to investigate a putative association of SNPs rs8099917 T/G located upstream IFNL3 gene and rs12979860 C/T within IFNL4 gene with a risk of pneumonia developing after infection with respiratory viruses.
Methods: The nasopharyngeal swabs, lavages, and blood samples from 318 patients infected with respiratory viruses were analyzed. Of these, 168 participants were shown to have community-acquired pneumonia, while the rest patients were diagnosed with bronchitis. The respiratory virus genomes were detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using commercially available kits. The DNA samples from all patients were used to detect SNPs rs8099917 T/G and rs12979860 C/T by real-time PCR using a commercially available kit. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality data were obtained from the WHO website.
Results: No association was found between different rs8099917 allelic variants and the development of pneumonia. The rs12979860 TT genotype was significantly more often detected in patients with pneumonia (p = 0.039; OR = 2.400; 95% CI 1.310 - 3.706). IFN-Î»3 production has been early found to be maximal with rs12979860 TT genotype. An association was established between rs12979860 T allele frequency and COVID-19 mortality rate in 13 countries.
Conclusions: The rs12979860 TT genotype is a genetic marker of increased risk of pneumonia after infection with respiratory viruses. High T allele frequency may be an indicator of a higher COVID-19 mortality rate. Patients with rs12979860 TT genotype have an increased risk of developing COVID-19 pneumonia.
COVID-19; genetic polymorphisms; IFN-Î»; pneumonia; respiratory virus infection
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