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  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

The puzzling question of Africa.

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
This is a relatively recent world map of covid-19 infections:

world_covid.jpg

The situation in the USA and Europe, we know. We also know that China or Australia managed to keep the epidemics at bay.

What I find puzzling is the low level of contamination in equatorial Africa. Countries like Nigeria are densely populated with large cities and disastrous infrastructure. Yet they remain surprisingly covid-free.

A first hypothesis is that covid would not like tropical climates. This is not in agreement with the situation in south America, at similar latitudes and climate.

A second hypothesis would be that Africa would not report the full number of deaths. Well, nobody does, but when coffins start to pile up, the state of the epidemics becomes hard to hide. And again: south American countries have the same reputation of publishing poor statistics, yet their figures are markedly different.

I have no convincing explanation.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
This is a relatively recent world map of covid-19 infections:

The situation in the USA and Europe, we know. We also know that China or Australia managed to keep the epidemics at bay.

What I find puzzling is the low level of contamination in equatorial Africa. Countries like Nigeria are densely populated with large cities and disastrous infrastructure. Yet they remain surprisingly covid-free.

A first hypothesis is that covid would not like tropical climates. This is not in agreement with the situation in south America, at similar latitudes and climate.

A second hypothesis would be that Africa would not report the full number of deaths. Well, nobody does, but when coffins start to pile up, the state of the epidemics becomes hard to hide. And again: south American countries have the same reputation of publishing poor statistics, yet their figures are markedly different.

I have no convincing explanation.
One first difference is that they lack Denisovian and Neanderthal DNA. We know the latter alters a number of our responses to disease. Neanderthal DNA alters immune response.

But then they have a lot of endogenous viruses from animal populations not present in the rest of the planet. So they could have immunity to this virus already!

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Genetic difference could account for the discrepancy, but there is a problem: the US population with African ancestors appears to be at least as sensitive to the virus as the one with European ancestors. Moreover, the accepted theory is that Europeans have evolved a very strong immune system, being under constant pressure for epidemics brought by their domesticated animals, a pressure which did not exist in Africa.

The answer may be that Europeans die because their immune system has too strong a response. Still, I am not entirely convinced. I said it was puzzling.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Genetic difference could account for the discrepancy, but there is a problem: the US population with African ancestors appears to be at least as sensitive to the virus as the one with European ancestors. Moreover, the accepted theory is that Europeans have evolved a very strong immune system, being under constant pressure for epidemics brought by their domesticated animals, a pressure which did not exist in Africa.

The answer may be that Europeans die because their immune system has too strong a response. Still, I am not entirely convinced. I said it was puzzling.
Africans in the USA, (descendants of slaves), possess varied DNA of Caucasian men! So they would inherit much of their genes!
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
Average age of the population is much younger than in the western countries… Could be one of the causes
And they don't go restaurants very often!
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Average age of the population is much younger than in the western countries… Could be one of the causes
And they don't go restaurants very often!
And they don't go restaurants,


....... very often!

That’s very funny but also sad and perhaps not really true in the cities.

I know in the cities one can but hot food from venders in the street and markets and these are packed.

There are also lots of nightlife and club activities.

Cities like Jo’burg, Capetown, Ibadan and Lagos have many restaurants, but not like NY, Paris, Tel Aviv or Bordeaux.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Actually the average age of about 20-21 is perhaps one of the most obvious and remarkable differences in addition to not having other hominid founder DNA tgat we collected exiting Africa.

The age difference, alone, would account for the virus spreading more silently without the pressure on hospitals or the need for mass graves. Loss of one or two grandparents here and there not really noticeable in the presence of so many other illnesses that can befall the population.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
That is also true for south american countries, yet they are doing much worse.
It could also be that while testing in Nigeria fails to picks up most cases, (at a testing rate of 1 in 50,000 of the population, South America’s testing might be giving a truer picture.

In Africa about 10-12% can have SARS CoV-2 antibodies, if one looks! But one won’t find active cases with virus or nucleic acid often, when testing only 1 in 50,000!

We need data on excess death rates but then we need accurate baseline data.

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Why would have Africa less mass graves than South America? Again: the population is about the same age structure, the level of poverty is similar, the climate is similar, etc... Except that one continent has mass graves and not the other.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Why would have Africa less mass graves than South America? Again: the population is about the same age structure, the level of poverty is similar, the climate is similar, etc... Except that one continent has mass graves and not the other.
Less deaths! The infection has caused so many deaths in South America that funeral homes were overwhelmed in some places and so mass graves were the answer.

It could be a coincidence, unlike Africans native food the African content, Meso America natives and continuing to fill the Southern Continent, have DNA gathered from all the proto-hominid interactions in the migrations that got them there.

We already know a lot about the first origins of the aboriginal native Americans from maternal, (mitochondrial) DNA

I need to find the data on the major chromosomes tiny additional contributions from other early hominids.

To make more sense of hominid DNA heritage, here is a fabulous start but needs updating for the America’s!!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Now to the Denisovans, [who, BTW, also happen to have interbread with the Neanderthals]:

EB5C992C-9DE2-4740-BB8B-FF0DD018540A.jpeg

53242A06-9BDC-421C-BD9E-34059849492A.jpeg


From a fabulous article here!​

We can see that Denisovan DNA is absent from the Continent of Africa as a whole except for at margins of exit to the Middle East!

The same has been shown for Neanderthal DNA.

The latter brings in allergies, amongst which could be overreaction to SARS CoV-2 and other health consequential altercations. Just a wild possibility but it does relate to the fact that those Native to Africa since “The Dawn of Man” are less contaminated by later sets of DNA that other early hominids developed.

Whether or not this does indeed have anything to do with the severity of responses to the current virus pandemic, is of course, without further evidence, totally my own fanciful speculation!

Asher
 

Maggie Terlecki

Well-known member
At first I was thinking of Vitamin D, where being outside in the sun would make you have a lot of it, but then in South America, it seems it would be similar. It may also be early lockdowns and bad infrastructure that makes it difficult to get from one place to another, including airports where the virus would find it more difficult to enter rural areas. But again, these are just guesses.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I am not that convinced that genetics alone can explain the difference. OTOH, some studies have shown that genetics may be responsible for a proportion of covid-19 fatalities, so there is a genetics aspect: https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2020/genes-could-be-key-to-new-covid-19-treatments
UPDATE on genomic distribution. Here from Haaretz, (need a subscription I believe):


“Ultimately, the Neanderthals were replaced, though only after interbreeding with us. Since that happened in Europe and/or the Levant – and right here in Israel – the thinking had been that sub-Saharan African populations don’t have a Neanderthal signal in their DNA. But they do, subsequent research has shown. Wondrously, though, some of Neanderthal genes in today’s Africans apparently stemmed from DNA from humans that left Africa early, at least 100,000 years ago, mixed with Neanderthals, and then their descendants went back to Africa bringing their mixed heritage with them. And the rest is prehistory.


Today’s folks in Asia, Europe and America got about 2 percent of their DNA from Neanderthals, sub-Saharan Africans rather less. Neanderthals mixed with Denisovans too – and so did we. Some of us today have Denisovan genes too, as well as whispers of DNA from other hominins we can’t even identify. Sexually fastidious, our ancestors were not.”


I don’t yet have the direct link to the evidence of Neanderthal and Denisovian traces of genome brought back to Africa by returning Sapiens after their 100,0000 years romp in Europe. But I will follow up. Still it’s a minuscule proportion compared to what is evident in modern Europeans and Asians or all subgroups!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
The latter is added just to clarify they saying “there is no Neanderthal, Denisovian and other proto-hominid genome contribution in sub-Saharan Africa is now considered almost true as there are genomic traces.

Such genomic differences could still supposedly contribute To Africans having less deaths and no major pandemic compared to similar young populations of South and Meso-America.

Asher
 
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