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



A recent study of the genetic association1 identified a gene cluster on chromosome 3 as a risk locus for respiratory failure in SARS-CoV-2 infection. New study2 covers 3199 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and controls found that this is the main genetic risk factor for severe infection and hospitalization with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative). Here we show that the risk is borne by a genome segment of ~ 50 kb, which is inherited from Neanderthals and is carried by ~ 50% of people in South Asia and ~ 16% of people in Europe today.


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