Sleep Apnea, Genetic Predisposition Linked to Severe Coronavirus Infection

July 16, 2021 13:06:08

A recent study conducted by researchers from the Academy of Finland has found that almost half of all coronavirus patients who also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea need to be hospitalized. The study, which was reported in the BMJ journals, noted that moderate to acute sleep apnea predisposes individuals to acute coronavirus. Other coronavirus risk factors include older age, diabetes and a high body mass index.

The researchers used FinnGen data for their study, which was backed by the Center of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics. The researchers linked data obtained from the Finland National Infectious Disease Register on coronavirus diagnosis with other health data, which they then used to identify more than 400 patients with coronavirus infections, 38 of whom also suffered from obstructive sleep apnea.

This led researchers to the discovery that, when compared with other individuals who had been infected with COVID-19, the latter group had a significantly higher risk of being hospitalized as a result of this fatal disease.

Many individuals who are infected with COVID-19 display no symptoms. This is proven in a follow-up study dubbed GeneRISK, which involved more than 7,000 participants from Finland’s Kotka region and Helsinki. Of the participants, an estimated 2,000 had been tested for SARS-CoV-2 virus antibodies while almost 3,000 had filled out a coronavirus symptom questionnaire at least once. The researchers found that only 1.5% and 2% of participants’ samples in the Kotka and Helsinki regions respectively showed the disease’s antibodies, noting that of this number, only a few reported that they’d experienced coronavirus symptoms.

Prof. Samuli Ripatti, the study’s lead who is also a part of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, stated that the coronavirus pandemic had highlighted the importance of an infected individual’s genome and the virus’ genome to the ailment’s severity and the individual’s susceptibility to infection. He explained that analyzing the virus’ properties and its carriers as well as its interactions would be useful in helping researchers prepare for future pandemics, adding that the study enabled them to utilize already existing health data to study the severity of the coronavirus infection as well as susceptibility.

Together with an international team of researchers, Ripatti has identified areas in the human genome that are linked to higher susceptibility to infection with acute coronavirus. Researchers have also found that these genes are associated with severe pulmonary illnesses such as idiopathic lung fibrosis and lung cancer as well as autoimmune disease.

One way to prevent COVID-19 from becoming a severe infection is by early diagnosis and prompt treatment. The work of companies such as XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) is helping in this regard as better PCR test kits that collapse the turnaround time from sample extraction to getting results are now being introduced on the market.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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