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

Zeberg H, Pääbo S

Nature 587 (7835) 610-612 [2020-09-30; online 2020-09-30]

A recent genetic association study 1 identified a gene cluster on chromosome 3 as a risk locus for respiratory failure after infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A separate study (COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative)2 comprising 3,199 hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and control individuals showed that this cluster is the major genetic risk factor for severe symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalization. Here we show that the risk is conferred by a genomic segment of around 50 kilobases in size that is inherited from Neanderthals and is carried by around 50% of people in south Asia and around 16% of people in Europe.

Category: Genomics & transcriptomics

Type: Journal article

PubMed 32998156

DOI 10.1038/s41586-020-2818-3

Crossref 10.1038/s41586-020-2818-3

pii: 10.1038/s41586-020-2818-3
COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative (round 3, ANA_B2_V2): summary statistics of the genome-wide association study
NA: Genetic information used in the study are available in public repositories (e.g.

Publications 7.1.2