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COVID-19 ‘Risk Variant’ Coming from Neanderthals can Minimize The HIV Contraction By 27%

A high number of genes are located in a chromosome 3 region, which comprises the inherited risk factor. There are numerous genes in the area that code for immune system receptors. HIV uses one of these CCR5 receptors to infect white blood cells. According to a study published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,’ a COVID-19 risk mutation passed down from Neanderthals could cut the risk of developing HIV by 27%. Within the autumn of 2020, scientists Svante Paabo and Hugo Zeberg established that humans inherited the key genetic risk factor for serious COVID-19 from Neanderthals. They discovered that the frequency of ancient human DNA had enhanced dramatically since the last ice age when they studied ancient human DNA.

“It has become unexpectedly common for a genetic variant inherited from Neanderthals. This major genetic risk factor for COVID-19 is so common that I started wondering whether it might be good for something, such as protection against another infectious disease,” Hugo Zeberg, the study’s lone author, explained his findings. The genetic risk factor is found in a chromosome 3 area that contains a large number of genes. There are numerous genes in the area that code for immune system receptors. HIV uses a few of these receptors, CCR5, to invade white blood cells.

Individuals who had the COVID-19 risk factor had fewer CCR5 receptors, according to Zeberg. This prompted him to investigate whether they were also at a decreased risk of contracting HIV.”This shows how a genetic variant can be both good & bad news: Bad news if a person contracts COVID-19, good news because it offers protection against getting infected with HIV,” said Zeberg.

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