BACKGROUNDDuring the current worldwide pandemic, coronavirus disease 2019 was first diagnosed in Iceland at the end of February. However, data are limited on how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, enters and spreads in a population. METHODSWe targeted testing to persons living in Iceland who were at high risk for infection (mainly those who were symptomatic, had recently traveled to high-risk countries, or had contact with infected persons). We also carried out population screening using two strategies: issuing an open invitation to 10,797 persons and sending random invitations to 2283 persons. We sequenced SARS-CoV-2 from 643 samples. RESULTSAs of April 4, a total of 1221 of 9199 persons (13.3%) who were recruited for targeted testing had positive results for infection with SARS-CoV-2. Of those tested in the general population, 87 (0.8%) in the open-invitation screening and 13 (0.6%) in the random-population screening tested positive for the virus. In total, 6% of the population was screened. Most persons in the targeted-testing group who received positive tests early in the study had recently traveled internationally, in contrast to those who tested positive later in the study. Children under 10 years of age were less likely to receive a positive result than were persons 10 years of age or older, with percentages of 6.7% and 13.7%, respectively, for targeted testing; in the population screening, no child under 10 years of age had a positive result, as compared with 0.8% of those 10 years of age or older. Fewer females than males received positive results both in targeted testing (11.0% vs. 16.7%) and in population screening (0.6% vs. 0.9%). The haplotypes of the sequenced SARS-CoV-2 viruses were diverse and changed over time. The percentage of infected participants that was determined through population screening remained stable for the 20-day duration of screening. CONCLUSIONSIn a population-based study in Iceland, children under 10 years of age and females had a lower incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection than adolescents or adults and males. The proportion of infected persons identified through population screening did not change substantially during the screening period, which was consistent with a beneficial effect of containment efforts. (Funded by deCODE Genetics-Amgen.
Background Little is known about the nature and durability of the humoral immune response to infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Methods We measured antibodies in serum samples from 30,576 persons in Iceland, using six assays (including two pan-immunoglobulin [pan-Ig] assays), and we determined that the appropriate measure of seropositivity was a positive result with both pan-Ig assays. We tested 2102 samples collected from 1237 persons up to 4 months after diagnosis by a quantitative polymerase-chain-reaction (qPCR) assay. We measured antibodies in 4222 quarantined persons who had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and in 23,452 persons not known to have been exposed. Results Of the 1797 persons who had recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection, 1107 of the 1215 who were tested (91.1%) were seropositive; antiviral antibody titers assayed by two pan-Ig assays increased during 2 months after diagnosis by qPCR and remained on a plateau for the remainder of the study. Of quarantined persons, 2.3% were seropositive; of those with unknown exposure, 0.3% were positive. We estimate that 0.9% of Icelanders were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and that the infection was fatal in 0.3%. We also estimate that 56% of all SARS-CoV-2 infections in Iceland had been diagnosed with qPCR, 14% had occurred in quarantined persons who had not been tested with qPCR (or who had not received a positive result, if tested), and 30% had occurred in persons outside quarantine and not tested with qPCR. Conclusions Our results indicate that antiviral antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 did not decline within 4 months after diagnosis. We estimate that the risk of death from infection was 0.3% and that 44% of persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Iceland were not diagnosed by qPCR.
To identify genetic variation underlying atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia, we performed a genome-wide association study of >1,000,000 people, including 60,620 atrial fibrillation cases and 970,216 controls. We identified 142 independent risk variants at 111 loci and prioritized 151 functional candidate genes likely to be involved in atrial fibrillation. Many of the identified risk variants fall near genes where more deleterious mutations have been reported to cause serious heart defects in humans (GATA4, MYH6, NKX2-5, PITX2, TBX5), or near genes important for striated muscle function and integrity (for example, CFL2, MYH7, PKP2, RBM20, SGCG, SSPN). Pathway and functional enrichment analyses also suggested that many of the putative atrial fibrillation genes act via cardiac structural remodeling, potentially in the form of an 'atrial cardiomyopathy', either during fetal heart development or as a response to stress in the adult heart.
Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. A small proportion of HF cases are attributable to monogenic cardiomyopathies and existing genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have yielded only limited insights, leaving the observed heritability of HF largely unexplained. We report results from a GWAS meta-analysis of HF comprising 47,309 cases and 930,014 controls. Twelve independent variants at 11 genomic loci are associated with HF, all of which demonstrate one or more associations with coronary artery disease (CAD), atrial fibrillation, or reduced left ventricular function, suggesting shared genetic aetiology. Functional analysis of non-CAD-associated loci implicate genes involved in cardiac development (MYOZ1, SYNPO2L), protein homoeostasis (BAG3), and cellular senescence (CDKN1A). Mendelian randomisation analysis supports causal roles for several HF risk factors, and demonstrates CAD-independent effects for atrial fibrillation, body mass index, and hypertension. These findings extend our knowledge of the pathways underlying HF and may inform new therapeutic strategies.
Elevated serum urate levels cause gout, and correlate with cardio-metabolic diseases via poorly understood mechanisms. We performed a trans-ethnic genome-wide association study of serum urate among 457,690 individuals, identifying 183 loci (147 novel) that improve prediction of gout in an independent cohort of 334,880 individuals. Serum urate showed significant genetic correlations with many cardio-metabolic traits, with genetic causality analyses supporting a substantial role for pleiotropy. Enrichment analysis, fine-mapping of urateassociated loci and co-localization with gene expression in 47 tissues implicated kidney and liver as main target organs and prioritized potentially causal genes and variants, including the transcriptional master regulators in liver and kidney, HNF1A and HNF4A. Experimental validation showed that HNF4A trans-activated the promoter of the major urate transporter ABCG2 in kidney cells, and that HNF4A p.Thr139Ile is a functional variant. Transcriptional coregulation within and across organs may be a general mechanism underlying the observed pleiotropy between urate and cardio-metabolic traits.
The consensus approach to genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has been to assign equal prior probability of association to all sequence variants tested. However, some sequence variants, such as loss-of-function and missense variants, are more likely than others to affect protein function and are therefore more likely to be causative. Using data from whole-genome sequencing of 2,636 Icelanders and the association results for 96 quantitative and 123 binary phenotypes, we estimated the enrichment of association signals by sequence annotation. We propose a weighted Bonferroni adjustment that controls for the family-wise error rate (FWER), using as weights the enrichment of sequence annotations among association signals. We show that this weighted adjustment increases the power to detect association over the standard Bonferroni correction. We use the enrichment of associations by sequence annotation we have estimated in Iceland to derive significance thresholds for other populations with different numbers and combinations of sequence variants.
Sequence variants affecting blood lipids and coronary artery disease (CAD) may enhance understanding of the atherogenicity of lipid fractions. Using a large resource of whole-genome sequence data, we examined rare and low-frequency variants for association with non-HDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in up to 119,146 Icelanders. We discovered 13 variants with large effects (within ANGPTL3, APOB, ABCA1, NR1H3, APOA1, LIPC, CETP, LDLR, and APOC1) and replicated 14 variants. Five variants within PCSK9, APOA1, ANGPTL4, and LDLR associate with CAD (33,090 cases and 236,254 controls). We used genetic risk scores for the lipid fractions to examine their causal relationship with CAD. The non-HDL cholesterol genetic risk score associates most strongly with CAD (P = 2.7 × 10(-28)), and no other genetic risk score associates with CAD after accounting for non-HDL cholesterol. The genetic risk score for non-HDL cholesterol confers CAD risk beyond that of LDL cholesterol (P = 5.5 × 10(-8)), suggesting that targeting atherogenic remnant cholesterol may reduce cardiovascular risk.
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