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Neanderthal genes linked to severe COVID-19; Mosquitoes cannot transmit the coronavirus

Neanderthal genes linked to severe COVID-19; Mosquitoes cannot transmit the coronavirus  ReutersNeanderthal genes may be to blame in some severe coronavirus cases  CNN2% of us carry Neanderthal genes. We are at greater risk for COVID  Genetic Literacy ProjectPeople with Neanderthal genes are more likely to complicate COVID-19, study finds  EntrepreneurStudy: Neanderthal genes may be a liability for COVID-19 patients  Santa Rosa Press DemocratView Full Coverage on Google News

A health worker, wearing a protective suit and a face mask, holds a plastic bag with nasal swab test tubes at a testing site for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Thouare-sur-Loire near Nantes, France, September 29, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Neanderthal genes linked to severe COVID-19; Mosquitoes cannot transmit the coronavirus Health News Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Neanderthal genes linked with severe COVID-19

A group of genes passed down from extinct human cousins is linked with a higher risk for severe COVID-19, researchers say. When they compared the genetic profiles of about 3,200 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and nearly 900,000 people from the general population, they found that a cluster of genes on chromosome 3 inherited from Neanderthals who lived more than 50,000 years ago is linked with 60% higher odds of needing hospitalization. People with COVID-19 who inherited this gene cluster are also more likely to need artificial breathing assistance, coauthor Hugo Zeberg of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology said in a news release. The prevalence of these genes varies widely, according to a report published on Wednesday in Nature. In South Asia, roughly 30% of people have them, compared to roughly one in six Europeans. They are almost non-existent in Africa and East Asia. While the study cannot explain why these particular genes confer a higher risk, the authors conclude, “with respect to the current pandemic, it is clear that gene flow from Neanderthals has tragic consequences.” (go.nature.com/36lHwnC)

Mosquitoes cannot transmit COVID-19

A mosquito that bites a person with COVID-19 cannot pass the coronavirus infection to its next victim, according to a study by researchers from U.S. Department of Agriculture and Kansas State University. Mosquitoes are notorious disease carriers, transmitting West Nile virus, Zika, and many other viruses from person to person and among animals. In laboratory experiments, researchers allowed several species of disease-carrying mosquitoes, plus some other biting insects, to feed on blood spiked with the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The virus was unable to survive and replicate itself in any of the insects, they reported in a paper posted on Wednesday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review. “Biting insects do not pose a risk for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans or animals,” the researchers said. (bit.ly/3jgeLMw)

Moderna vaccine passes safety test in older patients

Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc’s MRNA.O coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced immune responses at levels similar…

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