The Covid-19 pandemic is caused by the virus named SARS-CoV2. The Covid-19 virus is a corona virus closely related to SARS, the virus that caused an epidemic in 2002-2003. Covid-19 disease severity varies from mild symptoms in 80% of the cases to severe disease in 15% of the cases. The final 5% of the patients become hospitalized with the need for intensive care treatment, especially needing help to breathe. The majority of patients who become severely ill from Covid-19 are older or have an underlying disease. However, young and otherwise healthy people can also develop severe symptoms or die from Covid-19.
How sick a patient becomes during an infection is influenced by many factors. Some patients? immune system are able to fend off infections, while others struggle or fail to do so. The cause might be genetic - small alterations in our genes can have a great effect on how our cells perform certain functions. Life-style related factors, often called modifiable factors, also play a role. For instance, we know what smoking, alcohol use and diet affects or susceptibility to infections. Clinical factors, such as other diseases or medications, can also affect the risk of infection or how well the immune system can defend against infections. Finally, we must not forget the pathogen. Our knowledge of how the Covid-19 virus cause disease or interact with the immune system is still incomplete.
Ideally, we would be able to determine which patients are in high risk groups for Covid-19 or for developing severe symptoms, if they get the disease. To predict how Covid-19 will develop in individual patients - predicting the individual disease trajectory - requires knowledge of genetic, lifestyle-related, microbiological and clinical factors that contribute to Covid-19. With the CUT Covid study we wish to identify factors that influence how sick a patient will be from Covid-19. This will help us in turn to develop strategies to prevent infection and to improve patient care.
The Covid-19 pandemic is caused by the virus named SARS-CoV2, a corona virus closely related to SARS. The spectrum of disease severity of Covid-19 is wide, ranging from mild symptoms in 80% of the cases, to severe illness with hospitalization in 15% of the cases. The final 5% need intensive care, typically including help to breathe. There is currently no vaccine and no treatment targeting SARS-CoV2. Treatment mainly consist of helping the patient coping with the infection and the immune response. There are important knowledge gaps in our understanding of SARS-CoV2 pathogenesis. The majority of patients that need intensive care are older or have underlying diseases. However, we do not know why some people are at higher risk of Covid-19 infection, serious complications or death. Furthermore, the host and pathogen factors that determines the severity and outcome of the infection are not understood for SARS-CoV2. With this project, we aim to adress these questions.
We will establish a database consisting of all hospitalized Covid-19 patients in all ages in Mid-Norway. Furthermore, we will establish a biobank including all these patients. These efforts will make it possible to discover genetic, modifiable, microbiological, clinical and phenotypical factors that can predict disease severity and poor outcome. By including children and adults in the same clinical database and biobank, we will be able to address why children seem to be protected from developing severe disease compared to adults. Many patients will have participated in the population based HUNT and Trøndelagsundersøkelsen (>180 000) from 1984-2019, adding significant value to the proposed study.
We expect this research project to result in new knowledge of Covid-19 disease that will aid clinicians in determining risk of disease and poor outcome for individual patients. Furthermore, we expect our results to be relevant in the short term (months) treatment of Covid-19 patients in Norway and globally.