Fact Check: Are Blacks Immune from Coronavirus? Is it true that blacks are resistant to COVID-19? Is the black skin resistant to coronavirus? Does the black skin protect against coronavirus?
In the heat of the coronavirus pandemic, there is this dangerous rumour, superstition, belief, and misinformation flying around both in the mainstream media, social media, religious houses, beer parlours, markets and even in some citadel of learning that the black people (black blood, black gene, black skin or people of colour) are immune to COVID -19. The superstition also went further to buttress these beliefs that even the black persons that have contracted COVID-19 recover faster than the white and asian folks.
These false claims have been italized and bolded below…👇👇👇👇
“OUR MELANIN IS OUR DEFENSE,” claims one post, shared more than 2,000 times since February 11 by a Facebook user in South Africa.
“Chinese doctors confirmed African blood genetic composition resist coronavirus after student cured,” reads the headline of 14 February 2020 article 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 says.
“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 that he remained alive because he has black skin, the antibodies of a black are 3 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?
I don’t think so…. Science, commonsense and recent happenings on the coronavirus pandemic disproves it.
Statistics Contradicts Claim
There are now more than 100 cases recorded in 11 countries in Africa, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.
Egypt remains the nation with the most reported cases with 59, more than half of all confirmed cases on the continent.
Reported cases in Africa including sub-Sahara Africa affects blacks
The countries with reported cases as of Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization, include the following:
- Algeria — 20
- Burkina Faso — 2
- Cameroon — 2
- Democratic Republic of Congo –1
- Egypt — 59 (includes 1 death)
- Morocco — 3 (includes 1 death)
- Nigeria — 2 (1 white, 1 black)
- Senegal — 4 (1 Frenchman, 3 blacks)
- South Africa — 13
- Tunisia — 5
- Togo — 1
Apart from few instances of infected whites in Africa, 98 percent of the infected population are blacks.
Genetic diversity in Africa disproves claims
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.
Lack of Scientific Evidence
To be sure, we asked Omolade Awodu, a professor of Haematology and former deputy Dean of College of Medicine, 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.”
The World Health Organization publishes daily situation reports on the Covid-19 outbreak. This 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 have mention that African blood, or black skin, make people immune to the disease. – Motunrayo Joel
Black or White? Don’t Matter
There is no evidence that black people were or are less susceptible to the disease. Anyone regardless of race who comes into close contact with an infected party is at risk.
If indeed it is true that people from African backgrounds are more resistant to coronavirus than others, one should expect it to be a significant news story. Instead, we found the story only on a handful of online blogs, calling its trustworthiness to question.
No, African blood and black skin does not ‘resist’ new coronavirus
“Ethnicity and genetics have no influence on recovery from the virus, and black people don’t have more antibodies than white people and there’s lots of false information about this illness, and this is an example” – Prof Sall, director of the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, a biomedical research centre tasked with analysing suspected cases of the novel coronavirus in Africa.