The interferon-induced transmembrane proteins play an important antiviral role by preventing viruses from traversing the cellular lipid bilayer. IFITM3 gene variants have been associated with the clinical response to influenza and other viruses. Our aim was to determine whether the IFITM3 rs12252 polymorphism was associated with the risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 in our population.
A total of 288 COVID-19 patients who required hospitalization (81 in the intensive care unit) and 440 age matched controls were genotyped with a Taqman assay. Linear regression models were used to compare allele and genotype frequencies between the groups, correcting for age and sex.
Carriers of the minor allele frequency (rs12252 C) were significantly more frequent in the patients compared to controls after correcting by age and sex (p = 0.01, OR = 2.02, 95%CI = 1.19-3.42). This genotype was non-significantly more common among patients who required ICU.
The IFITM3 rs12252 C allele was a risk factor for COVID-19 hospitalization in our Caucasian population. The extent of the association was lower than the reported among Chinese, a population with a much higher frequency of the risk allele.
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