Publication date: Jan 22, 2024
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound global impact, with variations in susceptibility, severity, and mortality rates across different regions. While many factors can contribute to the spread and impact of the disease, specifically human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genetic variants have emerged as potential contributors to COVID-19 outcomes. In this comprehensive narrative review, we conducted a thorough literature search to identify relevant studies investigating the association between HLA genetic variants and COVID-19 outcomes. Additionally, we analyzed allelic frequency data from diverse populations to assess differences in COVID-19 incidence and severity. Our review provides insights into the immunological mechanisms involving HLA-mediated responses to COVID-19 and highlights potential research directions and therapeutic interventions. We found evidence suggesting that certain HLA alleles, such as HLA-A02, may confer a lower risk of COVID-19, while others, like HLA-C04, may increase the risk of severe symptoms and mortality. Furthermore, our analysis of allele frequency distributions revealed significant variations among different populations. Considering host genetic variations, particularly HLA genetic variants, is crucial for understanding COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. These findings have implications for personalized treatment and interventions based on an individual’s genetic profile. However, further research is needed to unravel the precise mechanisms underlying the observed associations and explore the potential for targeted therapies or preventive measures based on HLA genetic variants.