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SARS-CoV-2 enters host cells by binding angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Through a genome-wide association study, we show that a rare variant (MAF = 0.3%, odds ratio 0.60, P=4.5x10-13) that down-regulates ACE2 expression reduces risk of COVID-19 disease, providing human genetics support for the hypothesis that ACE2 levels influence COVID-19 risk. Further, we show that common genetic variants define a risk score that predicts severe disease among COVID-19 cases.

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