Scientists from Germany have said that the Neanderthal gene inherited from ancestors might lead to severe COVID19 infection among some people. A team of Neanderthal genetic experts has been examining a DNA strand, which is said to be linked with some of the severe COVID19 cases. They have compared this DNA with a sequence, which has been passed down to European and Asian people from Neanderthal ancestors. This DNA strand has been identified in chromosome 3. Scientists have been able to found out certain variations in the sequence, which is linked to the risk of more severe COVID19 infection. Experts have said that the risk is originated from a genomic segment and it has been inherited from Neanderthals.
The study shows that nearly 50 percent of South Asians and 16 percent of Europeans might be carrying this gene. This gene has been inherited by modern age humans from Neanderthals. The report says that people who are carrying this gene variant are three times more likely to be on ventilators if they are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The lead authors of the study have found a similar kind of DNA strand from a 50000 years old Neanderthal skeleton In Siberia. The research says that modern humans have crossbred with Neanderthals and a linked species called Denisovans around tens of thousands of years ago. As per the report, nearly 2 percent of DNA in European and Asian people can be traced back to Neanderthals.
Experts have not been able to find out which feature in the Neanderthal-derived region contributes to the risk of severe COVID19 infection. They have said that humans have a vast variety of genetic diversity and a couple of them had been found in our pre-human ancestors. Some of them had risen in Neanderthals and some had been traced back to the times when all the humans lived in Africa. A couple of genes have been found more recently as well. Experts have said that this DNA strand might be the reason behind a small percentage difference in the severity of the disease among COVID19 patients.