The major genetic contribution of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region to disease risk has been recognized for nearly fifty years, with hundreds of associations observed in autoimmunity, infectious disease, cancer, and major drug-hypersensitivities. Because of its pivotal role in the immune response to pathogens, we expect that HLA variation will also be found to play a role in SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or COVID-19 outcomes. 

In collaboration with the National Marrow Donor Program and the UCSF COVID-19 Citizen Science initiative we are conducting a study to collect data on COVID-19 in up to 3.5 million volunteer bone marrow donors with pre-existing HLA genotyping data to learn more about the role of HLA variation in this disease. This work is supported by NIH R01AI159260.

Additionally, in collaboration with a global consortium of leaders in the immnunogenetics community, we have developed a web platform that will serve as a data aggregation site, knowledge base and technical resource for HLA and immunogenetics research on the COVID-19 pandemic, intended to pool resources and increase power to accelerate discovery.