Neanderthal genes increase the risk of severe coronavirus: study | News DW

According to a Wednesday study by Germany’s Max Planck Institute, a major risk for dealing with severe forms of COVID-19 is a gene cluster inherited from Neanderthals.

Hugo Zeberg, an evolutionary anthropologist at the institute, said in a statement, “There is a possibility that humans who have inherited this gene variation have to put it on the ventilator when the novel coronavirus serus-COV-2 is three times higher.”

This change is associated with a higher risk of hospitalization and respiratory failure in those who become infected with coronovirus.

The risk associated with gene clusters is similar to other risks such as age or certain pre-existing conditions.

Generation down

The study, published in the journal Nature, Compared clusters of genes of Neanderthals and Denisovans. The researchers noted that the DNA sequence was identical to that found in a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal in Croatia.

“It was modern humans inheriting these gene variations from Neanderthals when they were mixed up 60,000 years ago,” Zeberg said.

Modern humans and Neanderthals intervened at various points in history, resulting in an exchange of genetic material that can still be seen by scientists today.

Some areas were more affected

Zieberg and his research colleague Svante Paab were unable to identify why this specific cluster causes complications in COVID-19 patients.

“It is alarming that a genetic inheritance from Neanderthal could have such tragic consequences in the current epidemic,” Pabo said.

Researchers said that the gene cluster does not appear equally in different geographic regions.

This is particularly visible in the genome of about half of South Asia’s people in Bangladesh, but only 16% of people in Europe. It is almost non-existent in Africa and East Asia, he said.



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