According to a German study, there may be a link between a Neanderthal gene and serious corona symptoms. People with a particular gene would be three times as likely to be on a ventilator when infected with Covid-19. This is what researcher Hugo Zeberg and his colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig say.
The research has been published in the scientific journal Nature. In addition to the known risk factors, such as age and underlying diseases, it was already discovered this summer that chromosome 3 could also be a cause of a severe disease course. Researcher Zeberg has now analyzed this gene cluster and compared it with the composition of the genes of Neanderthals. The Neanderthal is an extinct human species and lived tens of thousands of years ago.
The researchers used the DNA of a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal from Croatia. “It turns out that modern humans inherited this gene variant from the Neanderthals when they mixed together some 60,000 years ago,” says Zeberg. This gene is mainly found in people in South Asia. In Europe, about one in six people has it. In contrast, it hardly occurs in Africa and East Asia.
It is not clear why people with this particular gene are more at risk. According to the researchers, this should be investigated as soon as possible.
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View the corona news of Tuesday 29 September here.
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