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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: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @02:35PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @02:35PM (#1115986)
    The lower median age is entirely due to socioeconomic factors and not genes. “White” countries had the same high birth, infant mortality, and early death rates that caused the population to skew younger in the past. So genes are not a factor. And race is a social construct with no basis in science.
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @03:34PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, @03:34PM (#1115999)

    "No basis on science"

    I can tell your social construct from a drop of your spit on with a DNA test.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:20PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, @02:20PM (#1116411)
      I can tell a white dog from a black dog with a DNA test. Doesn’t mean they’re different races - they can even be siblings. Using skin colour to claim people are different races is stupid. So what race are albinos?
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, @11:50PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, @11:50PM (#1117034)

        Race, loosely ID'd by skin color, facial and other bone structure, hair type, etc in humans is related to where they were bred for 10's if not 100's of thousands of years, just like markings, size, hair length and body structure are used to ID a dog's breed, itself a product of selective breeding over hundreds or thousands of years.

        Human races are different subspecies, but the cowards in "science" won't admit it openly anymore. Nature separated the races just like it separates species of birds. For the races to compete with each other so life gets stronger. The Jew who taught you to self destruct and work against your own people understands this. Why don't you? Oh yeah, your gullible parents sent you off to be raised and indoctrinated by your racial enemies, and their white useful idiots, so your mom could be "liberated from male oppression".

        Whites better wake up because this is intentional and it;'s working. []