FSGS and COVID-19 in Non-African American Patients

Elba Medina, Carlos Rueda, Daniel Batlle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Collapsing Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) has been reported relatively frequently in African American (AA) patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and it is associated almost always with Apolipoprotein L gen 1 (APOL1) high-risk variants. We reviewed the published literature from April 2020 to November 2022 searching for non-African American (non-AA) patients with FSGS associated with COVID-19 (eight White patients, six Hispanic patients, three Asian patients, one Indian patient, and one Asian Indian patient). The following histologic patterns were found: collapsing (n=11), not otherwise specified (n=5), tip (n=2), and perihilar (n=1). Fifteen of the 19 patients had AKI. The APOL1 genotype was reported in only six of the 19 non-AA patients. Three of them (two Hispanic patients and one White patient) with collapsing FSGS had high-risk APOL1 variants. The other three patients (two White patients and one Hispanic patient with the collapsing variant, tip variant, and not otherwise specified) had low-risk APOL1 variants. Among 53 African American patients with collapsing FSGS associated with COVID-19, 48 had high-risk APOL1 variants and five had low-risk APOL1 variants. We conclude that in non-AA patients, FSGS is a rare complication of COVID-19. FSGS associated with COVID-19 can occur rarely with low-risk APOL1 variants in non-AA and AA patients. Non-AA patients reported to be associated with high-risk APOL1 variants possibly reflect inaccuracy of self-reported race with AA admixture because of unknown ancestry. Given the importance of APOL1 in the pathogenesis of FSGS associated with viral infection and to avoid racial bias, it seems appropriate that APOL1 testing be considered in patients with FSGS associated with COVID-19, regardless of self-reported race.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-699
Number of pages13
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2023


  • APOL1
  • COVID-19
  • FSGS
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • collapsing
  • kidney biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • General Medicine
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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