Study: Neanderthal genes may be liability for COVID patients
BERLIN – Scientists say genes that some people have inherited from their Neanderthal ancestors may increase their likelihood of suffering severe forms of COVID-19. Researchers Hugo Zeberg and Svante Paabo determined that the genes belong to a group, or haplotype, which likely came from Neanderthals. The genes are one of several risk factors for COVID-19, including age, sex and pre-existing conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart problems. “It is striking that the genetic heritage from the Neanderthals has such tragic consequences during the current pandemic," Paabo said in a statement. In a comment ahead of the study’s final publication, Franke said one interesting question arising from the study is why that haploytpe — unlike most Neanderthal genes — survived until today.