Neanderthal descendants more susceptible to COVID-19

An article published by the journal Nature Microbiology on October 21, 2020, Very recent research has shown that some persons who are having severe reactions to Covid are more susceptible because parts of their DNA are actually from the Neanderthals. The identified pieces of DNA has been shown to be 50,000 nucleotides long. Results of this study show that there are real-world consequences to genetic differences even if those differences are only 0.002%.

Interestingly this section of the human genome is probably there in certain individuals because at one time along the human evolution it was positively selected. It also seems that this was helpful in battling ancient viruses. Researchers suggest that it may have been so aggressive that in modern times it causes an over exaggerated immune response. This means that at one point it helped our species survive and reproduce successfully. Research has shown that this section of the genome could possibly have also been a result of interbreeding of the Neanderthals with other homonym species such as the Denisovans.

The identified piece of genome has been identified has been linked to increased hospitalizations and fatalities. To help investigate whether this was increasing complications from Covid, the researchers compared the region with an online database of Ginos from around the World. Definitely not everyone has this haplotype, because it was shown to be nearly nonexistent and Africans and East Asians. It is only mildly present in Latin Americans and certain Europeans. It is more frequent and people who are from South Asian ancestry. Reference: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02957-3

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