While several genes and clinical traits have been associated with higher risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), how host genetic variants may interact with these parameters and contribute to severe disease is still unclear. Herein, we performed phenome-wide association study, tissue and immune-cell-specific expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL)/splicing quantitative trait locus, and colocalization analyses for genetic risk loci suggestively associated with severe COVID-19 with respiratory failure. Thirteen phenotypes/traits were associated with the severe COVID-19-associated loci at the genome-wide significance threshold, including monocyte counts, fat metabolism traits, and fibrotic idiopathic interstitial pneumonia. In addition, we identified tissue and immune subtype-specific eQTL associations affecting 48 genes, including several ones that may directly impact host immune responses, colocalized with the severe COVID-19 genome-wide association study associations, and showed altered expression in single-cell transcriptomes. Collectively, our work demonstrates that host genetic variations associated with multiple genes and traits show genetic pleiotropy with severe COVID-19 and may inform disease etiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102550
Issue number6
StatePublished - 25 Jun 2021


  • Genomics
  • Omics
  • Risk factor
  • Virology


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