University of California COVID Host Genomics Consortium

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Public Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm the U.S. healthcare system. There is no proven therapeutic or vaccine for the novel coronavirus causing this pandemic. We have created a UC COVID19 Genomics Consortium (UCGC) to collectively share and enroll patients in a joint effort to better understand genetic predispositions and health risks related to COVID-19 - ultimately allowing us to predict, prevent, and treat the disease. Host genomics, that is the genome of the affected patient, represents an essential set of risks and protections that have not yet been studied, understood, or integrated into patient care - representing an enormous potential to provide targeted, future therapeutics for many infectious diseases, including COVID-19. This consortium will narrow the gap between discovery and treatment improvements from a typical time frame of years instead towards days-weeks. Moreover, our findings may provide targets for accelerated drug therapy and patient protection. Pooling resources and patient clinical data from all five University of California medical campuses will allow us to better understand the pathogen. The UC Health Medical System, comprised of six UC health systems UCSF, UCLA, UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine), including five academic medical centers, treats millions of patients each year across all specialty areas, representing significant and diverse part of the California population. Collectively, the consortium plans to recruit 1,000-3,000 COVID-19 exposed patients over a three-month period. UCSF will play a coordinating role in collecting and analyzing data from the various sites. The team will then standardize the clinical and genetic data and will share datasets within the consortium, as well as other collaborators, to maximize impact. A key aspect of this effort will require whole-genome or exome sequencing on every patient, comparing those without clear environmental risk factors (age, obesity, etc.), but with severe outcomes (cardiac, respiratory, CNS) to milder cases, controlling for viral load. These efforts will help in the creation of OMICS commons at the Bakar Computational Sciences Institute that will usher OMIC data sharing and discovery at UCSF and UC wide. Results found through this process will be disseminated to the clinical setting across the health system through guidance developed by an existing UC clinical validation committee. The consortium will also aim to make recommendations and tests available to communities outside of the UC system.