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posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 22, @01:20AM   Printer-friendly

A Genetic Variant You May Have Inherited From Neanderthals Reduces the Risk of Severe COVID-19:

[...] SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, impacts people in different ways after infection. Some experience only mild or no symptoms at all while others become sick enough to require hospitalization and may develop respiratory failure and die.

Now, researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in Japan and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany have found that a group of genes that reduces the risk of a person becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 by around 20% is inherited from Neanderthals.

[...] Last year, Professor Svante Pääbo and his colleague Professor Hugo Zeberg reported in Nature[1] that the greatest genetic risk factor so far identified, doubling the risk to develop severe COVID-19 when infected by the virus, had been inherited from Neanderthals.

Their latest research builds on a new study, published in December last year from the Genetics of Mortality in Critical Care (GenOMICC) consortium in the UK, which [...] pinpointed additional genetic regions on four chromosomes that impact how individuals respond to the virus.

Now, in a study published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)[2], Professor Pääbo and Professor Zeberg show that one of the newly identified regions carries a variant that is almost identical to those found in three Neanderthals – a ~50,000-year-old Neanderthal from Croatia, and two Neanderthals, one around 70,000 years old and the other around 120,000 years old, from Southern Siberia.

[...] To try to understand how this variant affects COVID-19 outcomes, the research team took a closer look at the genes located in this region. They found that three genes in this region, called OAS, code for enzymes that are produced upon viral infection and in turn activate other enzymes that degrade viral genomes in infected cells.

"It seems that the enzymes encoded by the Neanderthal variant are more efficient, reducing the chance of severe consequences to SARS-CoV-2 infections," Professor Pääbo explained.

[...] They found that the variant increased in frequency after the last Ice Age and then increased in frequency again during the past millennium. As a result, today it occurs in about half of people living outside Africa and in around 30% of people in Japan. In contrast, the researchers previously found that the major risk variant inherited from Neanderthals is almost absent in Japan.

"The rise in the frequency of this protective Neanderthal variant suggests that it may have been beneficial also in the past, maybe during other disease outbreaks caused by RNA viruses," said Professor Pääbo.

Obligatory, see also: Ozzy Osbourne's Genome Reveals Some Neandertal Lineage.

Journal References:
[1] Hugo Zeberg, Svante Pääbo. The major genetic risk factor for severe COVID-19 is inherited from Neanderthals [open], Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2818-3)
[2] Hugo Zeberg, Svante Pääbo. A genomic region associated with protection against severe COVID-19 is inherited from Neandertals [open], Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2026309118)


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @01:53AM (39 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @01:53AM (#1115843)

    Wrong. Dark skin in northern latitudes correlates to lower vitamin d syntheses, but not in Africa, which has lower COVID rates (and more exposure to sun).
    In other words, it’s a lifestyle disease.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday February 22, @01:54AM (38 children)

    I'm sorry, you seem to have confused correlation with causation. They're missing you back at slashdot.

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    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @02:29AM (34 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @02:29AM (#1115851)

      Lifestyle factors for increased risk of COVID include:

      Obesity, type 2 diabetes, lung damage from smoking, criminal lifestyle resulting in jail time, promiscuity, anti-maskers, QAnon conspiracy believers, religious nuts who believe god will protect them, religious nut bars who violate lockdowns and social distancing, antivaxxers, illegal drug use, sedentary lifestyle, not enough time outdoors in winter or summer.

      All these lifestyles increase the odds of getting COVID, same as many other contagious diseases. All these are causes of increased viral spread.

      Countries that imposed strict measures from the beginning are doing fine. Prevention of spread is predominantly done by changes to behaviour - in other words, lifestyle changes.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday February 22, @02:56AM (32 children)

        Irrelevant, the correlation remains a correlation entirely irrespective of why or what else.

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        When responding to comments, please do not use phrases like "just how stupid can you be". Some take that as a challenge.
        • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @04:06AM (14 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @04:06AM (#1115876)

          Irrelevant, the correlation remains a correlation entirely irrespective of why or what else.

          A lifestyle that avoids infection will correlate with low level/lack of infection, by causation.

          • (Score: 1) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday February 22, @04:48AM (13 children)

            And yet it does not change the high degree of correlation in base melanin levels and symptom severity. Give it up, man, you can't argue with mathematical facts.

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            When responding to comments, please do not use phrases like "just how stupid can you be". Some take that as a challenge.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @01:19PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @01:19PM (#1115962)
              I guess you missed the part where dark skin in Africa has the opposite effect to dark skin in North America. Because of different lifestyles. So the level of melanin is irrelevant.
            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday February 23, @12:18AM (5 children)

              by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 23, @12:18AM (#1116255) Journal

              you can't argue with mathematical facts.

              I can't argue with mathematics, that's true.
              However, I'm not seeing any of the stated facts as yet - citations, TMB, are sorely needed. Until they come, your argument is still into the shitposting category.

              --
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              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:02PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:02PM (#1116404)
                Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. People used sciencey thinking to justify eugenics. Turns out there was no science, just prejudice against “the other.” Same thing with the claims of a genetic link to higher susceptibility to Covid based on skin colour, which ignores the fact that Sounds Africans have lower rates than even white Americans.

                And claiming that this is due to the average age of South Africans wing lower ignores that this is entirely due to socioeconomic factors, same as ithe average age was lower in America 100 years ago.

                But racists will use t race (which is also a social construct with no scientific basis) to justify whatever they want. If colour defined “race”, we would classify dogs blas white or black; parakeets would be green or blue races; and albinos would be a separate race, which is ridiculous.

                That DNA might be used to detect differences in skin colour is about as irrelevant as using DNA to detect differences in eye or hair colour. Doesn’t make a different race except for those who need race theory to whitewash and current injustices.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, @10:53PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, @10:53PM (#1117012)

                  You're a fucking idiot. Dog breeds are just like human races, except humans have been separated longer. No one is stupid enough to say some breeds are not bigger, smarter, or more aggressive, but human breeds/races are a "social construct". STFU, Goi slave.

              • (Score: 1) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday February 23, @02:58PM (2 children)

                You've been cited. If you want further citations, they're only a google away. That you don't already keep up with this shit gives me a very dim view of your appetite for truth.

                --
                When responding to comments, please do not use phrases like "just how stupid can you be". Some take that as a challenge.
                • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday February 23, @04:14PM (1 child)

                  by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 23, @04:14PM (#1116471) Journal

                  You've been cited.

                  No, I've been provided with a link to an article that, interesting as it may be, says nothing about the "genetics controlling the amount of melanin".
                  Even more, it discusses the impact of life style as the primary cause of concern and uses examples from populations with a variety of genotypes.

                  If you want further citations, they're only a google away

                  Not my responsibility to support or refute your assertion until don't support them enough to become an argument.

                  hat you don't already keep up with this shit gives me a very dim view of your appetite for truth.

                  That you fail to read and comprehend the link you have thrown in the page as citation gives me a very dim about your willingness to make an argument.
                  Shitposting is more likely your motivation.

                  --
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Reziac on Tuesday February 23, @02:50AM (4 children)

              by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday February 23, @02:50AM (#1116294) Homepage

              Not melanin per se, but whether the subject is likely to be hypothyroid. Compared to whites, blacks (and American Indians) have a higher incidence of hypothyroidism (the root cause of the mass of "risk factors). About 30% of CV19 cases examined were found to have serious damage to the thyroid gland (and it should be noted that the lingering effects are consistent with thyroid damage). Vitamin D is part of that complex, hence the relationship.

              • (Score: 2, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday February 23, @03:01PM (3 children)

                Yet again, I was talking about correlation not causation. The term "risk factors" includes correlations that are in no way shown to be causative. Which means TFS and TFA are incorrect. Period.

                --
                When responding to comments, please do not use phrases like "just how stupid can you be". Some take that as a challenge.
                • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday February 23, @04:25PM (2 children)

                  by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday February 23, @04:25PM (#1116478) Homepage

                  Generally when they rattle on about this sort of thing, they're talking about inherited immune response complexes. All the article says, really, is that if you've got Neanderthal ancestors (and therefore are probably white or maybe Asian), you likely inherited some good and some bad with respect to CV19 resistance, depending which region yours fell into. Everyone else, this article is not about you; go find your own ancestral genotype (and your own specialist in that gene pool).

                  That it happens to =correlate= with your +/- melanin... well, that's hardly unique.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @02:27PM (16 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @02:27PM (#1115982)
          Any correlation is due to socioeconomic factors. Not genes. Same as lower life expectancy among blacks was true before COVID for the same reasons. It’s the legacy of centuries of racism, not genes.

          And race is a social construct. Just the fact that who was considered white changed with each wave of immigration proves that.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @03:14PM (14 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @03:14PM (#1115993)

            Racism makes blacks shoot each other, do drugs, prostitute themselves, and eat a lot of fried food?
            Some white person ought to tell those black folks to stop being racist to each other.

            Seriously, this "racism" concept means you shut off your brain to looking at the details of a problem and trying to come up with a practical solution that individuals can implement. If you come up with a govt scheme to eradicate the "sin of racism" in America to make us all more pure, you will not have done squat to fix any problems. All you will accomplish at best (not even likely) is to purify our souls, which is apparently is still a vital task in a post-religious (anti-religious) civic society.

            • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @04:12PM (12 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @04:12PM (#1116015)

              Racism makes blacks shoot each other, do drugs, prostitute themselves, and eat a lot of fried food?

              When they're abused by law enforcement, prevented from getting decent paying jobs, always the lowest priority, and healthy food options aren't available ... yeah.

              • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @05:48PM (5 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @05:48PM (#1116066)

                The cops create crime by being there. And the trees waving around makes the wind blow.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @06:07PM (4 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @06:07PM (#1116075)
                  Okay, tell us what's creating the crime, then.
                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @07:34PM (2 children)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @07:34PM (#1116106)

                    The wind.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @07:54PM (1 child)

                      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @07:54PM (#1116122)
                      So... you don't know what's causing it but it definitely isn't socioeconomic factors. Kay. I see we've reached the end of what your news sources covered.
                      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @08:15PM

                        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @08:15PM (#1116136)

                        All wind (and fury), signifying nothing.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @07:57PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @07:57PM (#1116124)

                    Okay, tell us what's creating the crime, then.

                    The problem with loaded questions like that, when asked by loaded people like that, is that even if you wanted to produce a succinct answer and solution of 25 words or less, they would ignore it, and find another approach of attack.

                    They'll accept the stupidest premise on face value if it reinforces the narrative they've been taught since kindergarten, but if there's a bit of insight and a suggestion of developing critical thinking skills, they'll reject the lot.

              • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:18AM (4 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:18AM (#1116286)

                I lived in ghettos (African American, and Hispanic) after coming to this country. If you really think this is the case, then you have no fucking idea about the complexities of the situation. But please, continue informing us how you can cure wacism with this one easy trick.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:54AM (3 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:54AM (#1116295)
                  You've either got a reading comprehension problem or there's someone claiming to have a cure for racism and you clicked reply to my post by mistake.
                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @03:39AM (2 children)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @03:39AM (#1116303)

                    If you follow the lines up, it looks like the post was about you. You know, all that wind you passed about bad cops and the lack of health food stores.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @04:19AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @04:19AM (#1116315)

                      No claims of curing racism in that post, either.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @06:16AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @06:16AM (#1116339)

                      ...lack of stores, health or otherwise.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, @11:31PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, @11:31PM (#1117029)

                oh like ahmaud armery was "abused". you probably believe the ap jews version of events. dumb fuck.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:08PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:08PM (#1116405)
              >> “ Racism makes blacks shoot each other, do drugs, prostitute themselves, and eat a lot of fried food?”

              White trailer trash does the same things. And cocaine is a white elite drug of choice on Wall Street. The poor have to settle for crack and fentanyl and oxy.

          • (Score: 1) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday February 23, @03:02PM

            Wrong. Correlations are not "due to" anything. Those are causations. Get a dictionary.

            --
            When responding to comments, please do not use phrases like "just how stupid can you be". Some take that as a challenge.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @05:35AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @05:35AM (#1115892)

        "not enough time outdoors in winter or summer"
        You should be protected in your mom's basement, though...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @02:56AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @02:56AM (#1115859)

      I'm sorry, you seem to have confused correlation with causation. They're missing you back at slashdot.

      Hah! They don't miss me one bit, with my male chauvinistic propaganda and all.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @05:49AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @05:49AM (#1115893)

      You haven't presented any evidence, but there's plenty of evidence for vitamin D being a factor. I think the burden of proof lies on your theory of genetic disability wrt covid in melanistic people.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday February 23, @03:05PM

        Sweet mother of fuck... Are you really going to say you've seen absolutely none of the reports of black and otherwise darker-than-honky folks getting worse cases of coronaids on average?

        A) You're full of shit.
        B) You're asking for a citation of something you damned well know is fact.

        --
        When responding to comments, please do not use phrases like "just how stupid can you be". Some take that as a challenge.