Scientists have found a genetic factor associated with Neanderthal heritage that affects the severity of the coronavirus.
Researchers Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Hugo Zeberg of the Karolinska Institute have found that 2-8 percent of people in Eurasia have a variant of the DPP4 gene, which is inherited from Neanderthals. It allows the MERS-CoV virus, which causes Middle East respiratory syndrome, to more easily enter cells.
This Neanderthal version of the gene has now been found to double the risk of severe COVID-19 disease. Data from patients with severe covid were analyzed. It was revealed that the Neanderthal gene was more common in them than in the control group.
Earlier, Paabo and Zeberg identified a Neanderthal haplotype cluster (cluster) of six genes on the third chromosome. It is associated with a higher risk of respiratory failure in coronavirus patients. It is found in 16 percent of Europeans and half of the South Asians. The inhabitants of Africa and East Asia do not have it.