The major genetic risk factor for severe COVID-19 is inherited from Neanderthals

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Zeberg, Hugo; Pääbo, Svante
Year of Publication: 2020
Date Published: 2020/09/30
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 1476-4687

A recent genetic association study1 identified a gene cluster on chromosome 3 as a risk locus for respiratory failure upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. A new study2 comprising 3,199 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and controls finds that this is the major genetic risk factor for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalization (COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative). Here, we show that the risk is conferred by a genomic segment of ~50 kb that is inherited from Neanderthals and is carried by ~50% of people in South Asia and ~16% of people in Europe today.

Short Title: Nature