A team of Neanderthal genetics experts examined a strand of DNA associated with some serious cases of Covid-1 some and compared it to living Europeans and Asians of Neanderthal ancestry.
The DNA strand is found on chromosome 3, and a team of European researchers has linked some variations in this sequence with the risk of becoming more seriously ill with Covid-19.
Zeberg said in a statement, “It turns out that this gene variant was inherited by modern humans when they intervened about 60,000 years ago.”
“Today, people who have inherited this gene variant are three times more likely to have artificial ventilation if they have been infected with the novel coronavirus SARS-CAV-2.”
Paobo and Zeberg found similar DNA differences in the 500,000-year-old Neanderthal skeleton found in Croatia and some of them found in Siberia.
Studies show that modern humans interfered with Neanderthals and related species thousands of years ago. Studies estimate that approximately 2% of DNA can be found in Neanderthals in people of European and Asian descent.
“Currently, it is not known which serious covid-19 is a symptom risk in the Neanderthal target area and if the effects of such a feature are specific to SARS-CV-2, other coronaviruses or other pathogens,” the researchers wrote.
“There is nothing clinically or biologically special about this kind of change in Neanderthals,” Dr. Gianni, a geneticist at Britain’s Sanger Institute who was not involved in the study, told CNN.
“Humans have a genetic diversity, some of which originated in our pre-human ancestors, some were in Neanderthals, some were during a time when all ancient humans lived in Africa, and some more recently.”
Barrett said this particular piece of DNA explains only a small percentage of the difference in disease severity in coronavirus patients.
“However, given the current epidemic, it is clear that there are tragic consequences of gene flow generated from Neanderthals,” Pabo and Zeberg concluded in their study.
Katie Hunt of CNN contributed to this report.