By Frank Jordans
Scientists say genes that some people have inherited from their Neanderthal ancestors may increase their likelihood of suffering severe forms of COVID-19.
A study by European scientists published Wednesday by the journal Nature examined a cluster of genes that have been linked to a higher risk of hospitalization and respiratory failure in patients who are infected with the new coronavirus.
Researchers Hugo Zeberg and Svante Paabo determined that the genes belong to a group, or haplotype, which likely came from Neanderthals. The haplotype is found in about 16% of the population in Europe and half the population in South Asia, while in Africa and East Asia it is non-existent.
Modern humans and Neanderthals are known to have interbred at various points in history, resulting in an exchange of genes than can still be found today.
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