HLA genetics and COVID-19

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Science  22 May 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6493, pp. 841
DOI: 10.1126/science.368.6493.841-b

Human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) are proteins encoded by a diverse set of human genes in the major histocompatibility complex. Most people carry between three and six different HLA alleles that show geographically specific distributions. These proteins are important for how the immune system recognizes and mounts immune defenses against infection. Nguyen et al. examined how HLA variation affects the cellular immune response to peptides from human-infecting coronaviruses. The authors found that HLA-B*46:01 had the fewest predicted binding sites to the severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus, and HLA-B*15:03 showed the greatest capacity to present highly conserved shared SARS-CoV-2 peptides to immune cells. HLA typing may therefore offer valuable information on how coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) might manifest in an individual and help to prioritize treatment options.

J. Virol. 10.1128/JVI.00510-20 (2020).

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