BERLIN (AP) — Scientists say genes that some individuals have inherited from their Neanderthal ancestors could improve the chance of struggling extreme types of COVID-19.
A examine by European scientists revealed Wednesday by the journal Nature identifies a cluster of genes which are linked to the next threat of hospitalization and respiratory failure in sufferers who’re contaminated with the brand new coronavirus.
Researchers Hugo Zeberg and Svante Paabo decided that the genes belong to a gaggle, or haplotype, which seemingly got here from Neanderthals. The haplotype is present in about 16% of the inhabitants in Europe and half the inhabitants in South Asia, whereas in Africa and East Asia it’s non-existent.
Fashionable people and Neanderthals are recognized to have interbred at varied factors in historical past, leading to an alternate of genes than can nonetheless be discovered right this moment.
The genes are one among a number of threat elements for COVID-19, together with age, intercourse and pre-existing situations like weight problems, diabetes and coronary heart issues.
The researchers, who work on the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, say the prevalence of the actual Neanderthal gene group is highest in individuals from Bangladesh, the place 63% are estimated to hold a duplicate of the haplotype.
They cite research from the U.Ok. exhibiting that folks of Bangladeshi descent have about two occasions greater threat of dying from COVID-19 than the final inhabitants.
“It’s placing that the genetic heritage from the Neandertals has such tragic penalties through the present pandemic,” Paabo mentioned in a press release. “Why that is should now be investigated as rapidly as potential.”
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