COVID-19 is a key aim of GenOMICC
Susceptibility to COVID-19 is almost certainly, in part, genetic. GenOMICC can find the genes that cause susceptibility, which may help us to prioritise treatments to respond to the global crisis.
GenOMICC is prioritised as an NIHR Urgent Public Health Study in the UK
Our genes (or DNA) determine how vulnerable we are to sepsis and other forms of critical illness. We aim to discover specific genes that control the processes that lead to life-threatening illness. If we understand these processes, we think we'll be able to design effective treatments.
To do this we need to get a single DNA sample from lots of criticaly-ill patients with a range of carefully-selected conditions ([see the entry criteria here](../entry)). The more patients, the better.
Distributed, open-source critical care research
Genetic effects will differ among the many different causes of sepsis, and different ethnic groups. This requires global collaboration among critical care doctors, sharing of data between researchers, and an innovative approach to funding.
GenOMICC in your region
If you want to get involved in
- we will be delighted to collaborate; or
- we can help you set up your own study using our protocol, documentation and REDCap data collection tools as a starting point; or,
- you can copy and adapt the various study documents available on this website to run your own independent
We will support investigators in new regions to establish and lead local research studies using the tools that we have created. Ultimately our motivation is to use
If you are a patient or relative please see our [patient and relative information section](../patient_website_info).
If you would like to read more about this study and its design you can read our [rationale](../rationale) which goes into further detail.
Death from sepsis is strongly affected by genetics
Susceptibility to infection is very strongly genetically determined. If you get a cold there's a good chance your children or parents will catch it from you, while your friends are much less likely, even if you spend the same amount of time with them.
Once a patient has sepsis, a complex cascade of immune signals leads to failure of critical organ systems and death. These events are not specific to a particular type of infection - they can happen to any patient with a severe infection. Although we know that susceptibility to a particular bug, such as the influenza virus, or a bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, is genetic, it is harder to tell if there are specific genes that alter a patient's chance of survival once they are already desperately sick with sepsis. But we do know that the immune system plays a key role in causing organ failure in sepsis, and in other forms of critical illness. Genetic differences have a very strong impact on immune function.
How to look for answers
There are millions of DNA sequence differences between any pair of humans. Any of these could be important in determining the outcome in sepsis. Finding the ones that matter requires us to look at DNA from huge numbers of patients. We need to look at thousands of people in order to find genetic associations with sepsis. Luckily, the people we need to study are rare, but this means we need to recruit over a large area, and for a long time, in order to acquire enough DNA samples to answer these questions.
We are very grateful to receive funding from the Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust (FEAT), the Wellcome Trust, and the UK Intensive Care Society in support of the GenOMICC study.