Why our genes make us unequal in the face of Covid

DECRYPTION – At the same age and identical co-morbidities, some individuals are naturally better protected from severe forms of the disease.

“Twins with identical genetic heritage, but whose lifestyle would be completely different would obviously not have the same risks in the face of the disease”, explains Lluis Quintana-Murci, head of the Human Evolutionary Genetics Unit (CNRS) at the Institut Pasteur and professor at the Collège de France. “However, we should not underestimate the role of our genes. ” They explain at least in part the great differences in vulnerability of a population of equal age and co-morbidities.

A study published by paleogeneticist Svante Paabo last October in Nature showed that 63% of Bangladeshis had a genetic variant inherited from Neanderthals (read below) which increased the risk of severe forms. People from Bangladesh living in the UK are well twice as likely to die from Covid as others. “Economic and social factors have a role, but even taking it into account, the excess risk remains important”, precise

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