CAMEROONIAN CURED

No proof African skin, blood is resistant to coronavirus

Antibodies of a black claimed to be three times stronger and resistant

In Summary

• Cameroonian student in China recently infected with Coronavirus was released from the hospital cured of the virus. 

• Nigerian professor of haematology says virus is new, 'no research confirms it's resistant to coronavirus'. 

Chinese wear face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus.
THREE CASES IN AFRICA: Chinese wear face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus.
Image: COURTESY

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases. An outbreak of a new strain, technically known as 2019-nCoV and now named Covid-19, was identified late last year in Wuhan, China.

According to the World Health Organization’s most recent update on the outbreak, for February 29, the virus has claimed 2,933 lives globally. 

There have been 85,689 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection across the world, most of them in China. 

Three confirmed case - in Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt - all among Italian travellers, are the only incidence of the disease in Africa so far. 

No African is known to have been killed by the disease.

On February 14 an article titled “Chinese doctors confirmed African blood genetic composition resist coronavirus after student cured,” was published on the site Af.feednews.com. 

“Senou is a young Cameroonian student in China recently infected with Coronavirus. He was released from the hospital this morning cured of the virus. Doctors seeking for a cure to treat the dreadful virus were amazed to see Senou still alive and fit,” the article read.

“The Chinese doctors confirmed that Senou stayed alive because of his blood genetic composition which is mainly found in the genetic composition of Subsaharan Africans.” 

It adds, “Chinese doctors also said he remained alive because he has black skin, the antibodies of a black are three times stronger, powerful and resistant compared to that of white.” 

The article has been shared on Facebook.

But has it been confirmed that the 'blood genetic composition' of Africans, and black skin, can 'resist' coronavirus?

Image: SHIMRON SAKWA

Genetic diversity in Africa

Decades of research has found that Africans are the most genetically diverse people on earth.

The genetic diversity of people from other continents is just 'a subset of the diversity within Africa', say researchers who have built Africa’s biggest genome library. 

This means Africans have no single 'blood genetic composition' that can 'resist' the Covid-19 coronavirus.

No evidence

To be sure, we asked Omolade Awodu, a professor of haematology at the school of medicine at Nigeria’s University of Benin, whether African blood and black skin made people resistant to coronavirus. 

“This is a new virus and very little is known about it,” she said. “However, I have not come across any research that confirms the claim that African blood composition or black skin resist coronavirus.”

WHO publishes daily situation reports on the Covid-19 outbreak. These give statistics of cases and deaths, and a run-down on new developments such as promising leads in the search for a vaccine or cure.

None of these reports mentions that African blood, or black skin, make people immune to the disease. 

Republished from AfricaCheck.org