BERG, a clinical-stage biotech company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to research diseases and develop innovative treatments, today announced the results of a COVID-19 study, which identifies a genetic factor that might in part account for the prevalence of the disease in African American populations and offers insight into the use of existing ACE inhibitors and ARBs to manage serious clinical symptoms. The study entitled, “Ethnic Prevalence of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Deletion (D) Polymorphism and COVID-19 Risk: Rationale for use of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/Angiotensin Receptor Blockers“, was done in collaboration with scientists from Oxford and Virginia Commonwealth University.
The study, published today in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, highlights the increased frequency of an ACE deletion polymorphism in the African American population. This genetic aberration has a known association with risk of greater susceptibility to lung and kidney dysfunction, both underlying risk factors for COVID-19 infection, outcomes and increased fatality. Results indicate a strong rationale for the use of ACE inhibitors (ACE-I) and ARBs (AT1 receptor blockers) as treatment intervention to mitigate serious complications in COVID-19 patients. The significant genetic, scientific and clinical data provides a compelling argument for the use of ACE-I and ARBs in the clinical management of patients with COVID-19 infections to improve outcomes.
As many companies work to develop new vaccines and other prophylactic treatments for coronavirus, BERG also recognizes the critical need to repurpose existing clinical therapeutics to manage the severity of infection in vulnerable populations. ACE inhibitors and ARBs are already used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure and are potential options in the clinical management of the novel coronavirus to improve overall outcomes.
“COVID-19 has posed a great challenge to the world. Berg has partnered with like-minded academic institutions and the U.S. Government to address outcome disparities and identify re-purposing opportunities for drugs to manage the symptoms and complications of the virus,” said Dr. Niven R. Narain, BERG’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We feel a sense of responsibility to assess disparate outcomes.”