Is the African Blood Resistant to Coronavirus?

VERDICT:

Medically False, No Scientific Evidence

CLAIM:

On 10th of February 2020, multiple sources including Abia Pulse News, Kenya Bulletin, African Daily Mail and CityScrollz published a story with the claim that the African Blood Genes are resistant to the Corona Virus, which is currently a global health challenge, with a death toll in mainland China reaching 1,770, with at least 70,548 total cases reported. The report claimed that the Chinese doctors released one Senou, a Cameroonian student who had been infected by the virus, after he was cleared and confirmed cured. The Doctors confirmed that Senou is still alive because of his blood genetic composition mainly found in genetic composition of Sub-Saharan Africans. Screenshots and links of the posts have been shared thousands of times around Africa since February 11, including in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.

FACT:

According to the World Health Health Organisation (WHO) ‘Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The Chinese authorities alerted WHO to several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a Chinese port city of 11 million people in the Central Hubei province on December 31st, 2019. Then, the virus was unknown.

The WHO declared a global health emergency over the new coronavirus – known as COVID-19 – on January 20, 2020. Aljazeera reports that there are confirmed cases in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Africa. Reported Aljazeera.

According to WHO, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. However, those infected with 2019-nCoV should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care.

However, the BBC reported (in French) on February 3, 2020, that a 21-year-old Cameroonian studying at China’s Yangtze University was admitted to hospital in early February. China’s embassy in Cameroon confirmed the development in a tweet on February 5, 2020. But experts have said claims that black people were resistant to the virus were “false information”.

A UK-based specialist in infectious diseases and epidemics, Paul Hunter, told DW that the absence of Covid-19 on the continent maybe largely due to luck. There is nothing special about Africa not having seen a case other than pure chance at the moment… “I doubt we will see a big outbreak in Africa, Droplet diseases don’t seem to be as big an issue in Africa,” he said, adding that SARS, a respiratory disease that is also a coronavirus, spread through 26 countries in 2003 but failed to gain a hold in Africa.

From scientific evidence, there is no medical proof that African blood is resistant to the Coronavirus.

CONCLUSION

There is, therefore, no evidence to support the claim that ‘African Blood Gene’ has immunity to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus). Nigerians must be curious of medical advise, like the salt bath in the case of Ebola virus, which is a rare but deadly virus that causes fever, body aches, and diarrhea, and sometimes bleeding inside and outside the body. Salt bath led to the death of many Nigerians. CDD is, therefore, urging members of the public to disregard the rumours and follow all preventive measures stipulated by the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health. Let’s join hands to #StopFakeNews.