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Genomic and epidemiological aspects of the COVID-19 in native Brazilian populations

Grant number: 20/05326-5
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2020 - March 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Human and Medical Genetics
Principal Investigator:Tábita Hünemeier
Grantee:Tábita Hünemeier
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Alexandre da Costa Pereira ; José Geraldo Mill ; Rafael Elias Marques Pereira Silva
Associated research grant:15/26875-9 - Native American genome diversity, AP.JP

Abstract

The Native American populations are, since the first contact with Europeans, exposed to a myriad of pathogens from which they have been isolated for more than 15 centuries since their differentiation in Beringia. Examples abound of epidemics that plagued post-contact America, leading to the extinction of diverse native populations. Recent studies involving ancient and present-day individuals showed a decrease in genetic variability between 50% and 90% after the arrival of Europeans. The leading cause of death in Brazilian Natives today is respiratory complications in a consequence of infections. Therefore, given the current epidemic of COVID-19, it is crucial to study these historically vulnerable populations, contributing to a better understanding of the impact of disease outbreaks (past and present) on these populations, and investigating the existence of genetic differentiation in these individuals related to the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The present project intends to study COVID-19 under genomic and epidemiological aspects in 550 individuals belonging to two native populations, Tupiniquim and Guaraní-Mbyá, resident in Espírito Santo, with different levels of exposure to urban society. Given the extensive studies in these populations over the past decades, it will be possible to assess the evolution of the epidemic fully, whether the response is related to the genetic profile of these populations, and what the contribution of pre-existing clinical findings (i.e., tuberculosis, diabetes). Besides, it will be essential to transfer the findings in these native individuals to assess whether the potential for infection may be related to native ancestry in the Brazilian population. (AU)