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Neandertal gene variants and Covid-19

Neandertal gene variants both increase and decrease the risk for severe Covid-19

Last year, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden showed that the major genetic risk factor for severe Covid-19 is inherited from Neandertals. Now the same researchers show, in a study published in PNAS, that Neandertals also contributed a protective variant. Half of all people outside Africa carry a Neandertal gene variant that reduces the risk of needing intensive care for Covid-19 by 20 percent.

© Mattias Karlén