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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Source: State University Higher School of Economics – State University “Higher School of Economics” –

ArticlescientistsFaculty of Biology and BiotechnologyNational Research University Higher School of Economics named among the most read articles published in the magazinePeerJin 2023. In it, researchers established a connection between the genetic characteristics of the human immune system and the ability to effectively resist new waves of COVID-19. PeerJ is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering research in the biological and medical sciences. Every year it compiles a ranking of the most popular scientific works.

In the article “HLA-A*01:01 allele diminishing in COVID-19 patient population associated with non-structural epitope abundance in CD8 T-cell repertoire,” Russian scientists compared the characteristics of the HLA-I genotypes of patients with COVID-19 in the first and third waves of the pandemic . They found that the frequency of carriers of the HLA-A*01:01 allele was halved among patients in the third wave compared to the first.

“We began studying genetic predisposition to COVID-19 almost immediately after the start of the pandemic. A study that came out back in 2021 found that carriers of HLA-A*01:01 are more prone to severe COVID-19. Further studies, however, showed that a significant proportion of patients experience mild COVID-19, including carriers of HLA-A*01:01. The drop we found in the number of carriers of this allele among patients of the third wave may be due to the fact that a significant proportion of them had recovered from the disease by the third wave and formed a strong T-cell immunity, which does not allow them to go to the hospital,” explains the first author of the article, head Laboratory for Research on Molecular Mechanisms of Longevity National Research University Higher School of EconomicsMaxim Shkurnikov.

The scientist suggests that interest in the article is due to the fact that it was able to confirm a genetic predisposition to a severe form of COVID-19. In particular, Russian scientists have shown that in patients with the HLA-A*01:01 allele who have recovered from COVID-19, memory T lymphocytes predominate – cells that remember infection antigens and provide a quick immune response when they encounter the virus again.

The team from the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology of the National Research University Higher School of Economics continues to study genetic predisposition to COVID-19, as well as its various strains. Thus, in a new work, which is planned for publication in the journal Medical Virology in the first half of 2024, scientists explain the differences in the development of infection in intestinal and lung cells when comparing the omicron variant with the previous variant, delta, which caused a very severe course of the disease. The findings could help predict the behavior of new strains of the virus, including a new variant called pyrola.

“Our scientists continue to make a significant contribution to the development of world science, collaborating with colleagues from different countries and participating in international projects. Thanks to this, Russian science remains one of the leaders in the global scientific community. Now we are conducting research in the field of studying the characteristics of the formation of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 together with Taipei Medical University, together with colleagues from Sun Yat-sen University we are developing antitumor vaccines based on neoantigens,” said Maxim Shkurnikov.

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