Neanderthal Genes May Be to Blame for COVID Severity in Specific People Groups

“Here, we show that the risk is conferred by a genomic segment … that is inherited from Neanderthals and is carried by about 50% of people in South Asia and about 16% of people in Europe today,” Svante Paabo and Hugo Zeberg of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology wrote, in [a paper accepted for publication in the journal Nature.](The major genetic risk factor for severe COVID-19 is inherited from Neanderthals | Nature

A surprising find for scientists or no? When I read this today, I remember this comment and the last two sentences. Just curious.

I do not understand what you think the connection might be.

Certain genetics affecting ability to survive disease. I have no idea how much this has already been studied, or if these findings were surprising to science.

I still don’t understand what you think the connection may be.

1 Like

It isn’t surprising that there are genetic risk factors for different infectious diseases. To use a different example, the CCR5-delta 32 mutation confers partial immunity to HIV.

Only a small portion of the modern human genome comes from neanderthals, so in that sense it is surprising to find an association in that region.

From what I can find, there are 6 genes in that region: SLC6A20, LZTFL1, CCR9, FYCO1, CXCR6, and XCR1. Of those, CCR9, CXCR6, and XCR1 are proteins involved in the immune system and are probably the main candidates for further studies. Specifics on the genes can be found here: