Neanderthal gene may be a liability for COVID patients

BERLIN (AP) – Scientists say the gene is inherited by some people from their Neanderthal ancestors that may increase their chances of suffering severe forms of COVID-19.

A study of European scientists published on Wednesday by the journal Nature examined a group of Nature, which is associated with a higher risk of hospitalization and respiratory failure in patients infected with the new coronovirus.

Researchers Hugo Zeberg and Svante Pabo determined that the genes belong to a group, or haplotype, that likely came from Neanderthal. The haplotype is found in about 16% of the population in Europe and half of the population in South Asia, while it is non-existent in Africa and East Asia.

Modern humans and Neanderthals have been known to intervene at various points in history, resulting in the exchange of genes that can still be found today.

The gene for COVID-19 is one of several risk factors, including age, sex, and pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart problems.

Zeberg and Pabo, who work at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, noted that the prevalence of the Neanderthal gene group in particular is highest among people in Bangladesh, with 63% taking a copy It is estimated to go. haplotype.

He cited UK studies saying that people of Bangladeshi origin are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population.

“It is striking that genetic inheritance from Neanderthal has such tragic consequences during the current epidemic,” Pabo said in a statement. “Why it should be investigated as soon as possible.”

But Andre Franke, director of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology at the University of Kiel, Germany, said the findings have no immediate effect on the treatment of COVID-19.

In a comment before the study’s final publication, Franke stated that an interesting question arising from the study is why haplotep – unlike most Neanderthal genes – survived to this day.

“Perhaps it is good for a very active immune system if there are no other risk factors,” he suggested.


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