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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, 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.

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  • (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.