A recent study has revealed that 60% of people with South Asian heritage and 15% of people with European heritage carry the Leucine Zipper Transcription Factor-Like 1 (LZTFL1) gene. This gene increases the risk of lung failure and death due to Covid-19. The gene, located on chromosome 3 at location 3p21.31, was inherited from Neanderthals, a subspecies of early humans that originated in Eurasia and lived up until about 40,000 years ago.
The protein that is translated from this gene regulates protein traffic through the ciliary membrane via interactions with the Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS) complex. The presence of this gene doubles the likelihood of lung failure due to lung diseases or illness, the most prevalent of those illnesses at the moment being Covid-19.
Even though this gene is present, there are also socioeconomic factors that contribute to a rise in susceptibility in some areas more than others. There is also more research needed to find if other ethnicities have this risk factor as well.