A risk factor for COVID-19 in South Asians

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

A recent genetic association study (Ellinghaus et al. 2020) identified a gene cluster on chromosome 3 as a risk locus for respiratory failure in SARS-CoV-2. Recent data comprising 3,199 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and controls reproduce this and find that it 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 Neandertals and occurs at a frequency of ~30% in south Asia and ~8% in Europe.

The highest frequency is in the 1000 Genomes Bangladesh sample. 60%. In a study of Europeans all things equal the risk allele at this locus increases odds of respiratory failure by a factor of 1.75. This isn’t really the major factor; age and hypertension, all the things you know, matter more. But, it’s not trivial either to increase risk by 1.75.

If you are on 23andMe and got tested before the summer of 2017, the older chips has a marker for the locus that’s informative (in LD with the haplotype). This link should take you there. I’m TT homozygote. Modern human. A C is for Neanderthals.

12 thoughts on “A risk factor for COVID-19 in South Asians”

    1. sb, cc means you could be 3x higher risk of severe respiratory failure if you catch it.

      Thanks, also saw your previous comments.
      I am a diabetic too, and 61+ in the old category.
      So, bye bye if I get it.

      That said I live alone on 6 acres in fairly remote part of Sri Lanka. It will be against all odds if I get it.
      Unhappily wont be able to inform the Brown Pundit community.

      Looks like there is some correlation between ASI/AASI ancestry and the risk allele.
      Good or bad, happy about the ASI/AASI link.

  1. CT here, no South Asian ancestry though, my background is Welsh and Scottish

  2. I got tested only a few months ago, but I followed your link and it says “No genes or markers found matching rs10490770”. The last column (past the 22 chromosomes and the X and the Y) is labeled MT. When I clicked on “MT”, I got a long table with the last column containing a mix of T, C, and G (and “not determined”).

    Does this mean I’m not at high risk for COVID?

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