Mukundan G. Attur, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Medicine NYU Grossman School of Medicine

NYU Study Finds Genetic Variant May Protect Against Severe Illness From COVID-19 Interview with:

Mukundan G. Attur, PhDAssociate Professor, Department of Medicine
NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Dr. Attur

Mukundan G. Attur, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
NYU Grossman School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  The study investigates the potential protective effects of a genetic variant of IL1RN against inflammation and severe outcomes, particularly in COVID-19. Previous research indicates that carriers of this genetic variant may experience less severe radiographic knee osteoarthritis and decreased inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Given the emergence of cytokine release syndrome in COVID-19 patients, the researchers sought to understand whether the same genetic variant could offer protection against inflammation and potential death in COVID-19 cases. Does this genetic variant protect against other the severity of illness from other viruses?

Response:  The study suggests that this genetic variant may protect against severe illness caused by COVID-19. Additionally, the variant’s association with inflammation in other conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity underscores its potential role in modulating inflammatory responses across various diseases. What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?

Response: Further investigation is warranted into the mechanisms underlying the observed protective effects of the IL1RN genetic variant against inflammation and severe illness in COVID-19 and other viral infections. Understanding why there is a significant increase in interleukin-1 receptor antagonist levels in hospitalized COVID-19 patients could provide insights into disease progression and inform the development of targeted therapies, particularly for post-COVID syndrome patients. Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response: Moreover, the study highlights the potential of IL1RN genetic variants as biomarkers for predicting post-COVID syndrome and suggests exploring pharmaceutical inhibitors targeting inflammation pathways for treating affected patients.

The researchers mention an unrelated patent application by NYU for using these genetic variants in osteoarthritis treatments.

Citation: Mukundan Attur, Christopher Petrilli, Samrachana Adhikari, Eduardo Iturrate, Xiyue Li, Stephanie Tuminello, Nan Hu, Aravinda Chakravarti, David Beck, Steven B Abramson, Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Gene (IL1RN) Variants Modulate the Cytokine Release Syndrome and Mortality of COVID-19, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2024;, jiae031,


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Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by Marie Benz MD FAAD