News Release

New study links COVID-19 susceptibility with blood clots, thrombophlebitis and circulatory diseases

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Queen Mary University of London

The study used a Phenome-wide (PheWAS) analysis in up to 400,000 European ancestry individuals, derived from the UK Biobank, researchers aimed to identify traits and diseases associated with COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. PheWAS analysis allowed the team to construct the predictive COVID-19 genetic score, using the sum of COVID-19 risk alleles for each individual in the UK Biobank. This score was examined against all available traits and diseases in UK Biobank, adjusted for confounders, in a hypothesis-free manner.

The study found that genetically predicted COVID-19 is significantly associated with an 11 per cent increased risk of phlebitis and thrombophlebitis, a 10 per cent increased risk of blood clots in the leg and a 12 per cent increased risk of blood clots in the lung.

Dr Eirini Marouli, Study lead and Lecturer in Computational Biology at Queen Mary University of London said: “This PheWAS was conducted to determine if genetically predicted COVID-19 susceptibility and severity is associated with other diseases and traits, examining all of them in a hypothesis-free way. For COVID-19 susceptibility, we identified an increased risk of phlebitis and thrombophlebitis. In addition to that, we found that general COVID-19 susceptibility was associated with an increased risk of blood clots in leg and lung; factors involved in COVID-19 mortality.”

The results from our study add valuable information for the identification and stratification of individuals at increased COVID-19 risk and other complications after infection. Our study identifies significant associations of genetically predicted COVID-19 susceptibility with increased blood clot events in the leg and lungs, thrombophlebitis and circulatory diseases. Our findings could have further significance for individual with long-covid complications.”


Notes to editors

About Queen Mary University of London
At Queen Mary University of London, we believe that a diversity of ideas helps us achieve the previously unthinkable.
In 1785, Sir William Blizard established England’s first medical school, The London Hospital Medical College, to improve the health of east London’s inhabitants. Together with St Bartholomew’s Medical College, founded by John Abernethy in 1843 to help those living in the City of London, these two historic institutions are the bedrock of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Today, Barts and The London continues to uphold this commitment to pioneering medical education and research. Being firmly embedded within our east London community, and with an approach that is driven by the specific health needs of our diverse population, is what makes Barts and The London truly distinctive.
Our local community offer to us a window to the world, ensuring that our ground-breaking research in cancer, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and population health not only dramatically improves the outcomes for patients in London, but also has a far-reaching global impact.
This is just one of the many ways in which Queen Mary is continuing to push the boundaries of teaching, research and clinical practice, and helping us to achieve the previously unthinkable.

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