Posted on February 26, 2021

Genetic Mutation Inherited from Neanderthals Could Help Protect Against Severe COVID-19 Cases

Joseph Choi, The Hill, February 17, 2021

Researchers have discovered a possible genetic link between Neanderthal DNA and a lower risk of developing a severe case of the coronavirus.


They found that a certain haplogroup, a population that shares common DNA, was roughly 22 percent less likely to develop a severe case of COVID-19. The common DNA is believed to have been inherited from Neanderthals.

The haplogroup is common in populations outside of Africa, the study notes, as Neanderthal evolved off the continent.


“Some of these contributions may reflect adaptations to environments outside Africa where Neanderthals lived over several hundred thousands of years. During this time, they are likely to have adapted to infectious diseases, which are known to be strong selective factors that may, at least partly, have differed between sub-Saharan Africa and Eurasia,” they wrote.