Neanderthal-inherited gene variant helps in protecting against severe COVID-19: Study

What is the News?

A study was conducted to understand why Covid-19 has infected people differently — while some witness severe disease, others are impacted by milder symptoms. The study has found that a gene variant is what provides protection against severe disease.

Who conducted the study?

​​The study was conducted by an international team of researchers. It also included the COVID-19 Hosts Genetics Initiative.

Note: COVID-19 Hosts Genetics is a Global Initiative that brings together the human genetics community to generate, share, and analyze data to learn the genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility, severity and outcomes.
What are the key findings of the study?

The study has found that a gene variant named Neanderthal-derived haplotype provides protection against severe disease. This is a group of DNA variants that are inherited together because they are similar in nature.

It confers approximately 23% reduced risk of becoming critically ill on infection with SARS-CoV-2. This gene protects by alerting the body to produce proteins that would help break down the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Further, the study has also revealed that 80% of those with African ancestry had this protective gene.

Hence, these findings have the potential to advance treatment for COVID-19, giving way to a more targeted response.

Source: This post is based on the article ‘Neanderthal-inherited gene variant helps in protecting against severe COVID-19: Study ’ published in Down To Earth on 19th January 2022.

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