Contrary to the projections of World Health Organization (WHO) and Western Countries, Africa will not be devastated by COVID-19. The testing levels in Africa are far below those in Europe and USA which may be responsible for the low incidences. However, the percent fatality rates are maintained between 1-3% even after 3 months of the pandemic. In Nigeria, the fatality rate was highest (3.57%) on 02/05/2020 and is now below 2.9% after 3 months (March- May). The following reasons may be responsible for the low incidence and fatality in Africa:
- The African population is very young based on our lower average life expectancy (61 years for males and 65 for females) compared with Asia, Europe or North America. In West Africa, it is 56 years (2019). The ages below these averages of life expectancy have relatively good immune systems and low numbers of patients with co-morbidities such as diabetes mellitus, asthma and heart diseases compared with those over 70 years. This strongly suggests that the African Governments should focus and protect the few elderly citizens (above 60 years) and those with co-morbidities who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Africans have more Vitamin D3 than Caucasians and Asians because of abundance of sun light in the continent. Vitamin D3 is an immune booster which protects Africans from coronavirus disease. Few Africans with low Vitamin D, require additional intake of D3.
- In Africa, the frequency of exposures to bacteria and viruses is very high because of the poor hygiene conditions. This may lead to generation of specific antibodies (IgG) in Africans to different diseases, including coronaviruses (SARS CoV-1 &2) which may make the African immune system much stronger than that of a Caucasian or Asian. This is an excellent research area for African Scientists to find out whether there is antibody cross- reactivity between SARS-CoV 1 and 2. Can antibody against SARS-CoV-1 protect patients from COVID-19 caused by SARS CoV-2? There is information in the literature that antibody against Mitogen-activated kinase (MAPK1/2; erk1/erk2) cross-react with both proteins.
One, two or all three of the stated facts may make the African continent hostile to SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus of COVID-19. As a precaution, the African Governments should not be complacent in taking proactive and preventive measures to stop the spread of the virus. The use of face masks, sanitizers, washing of hands as well as social distancing should be encouraged during this pandemic. In addition, Governments must also strengthen contact-tracing committees in various states to act immediately and quarantine all contacts once a COVID-19 case is confirmed. This will put a break to community transmission of COVID-19.
Research and Development (R&D) in Africa.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the poor state and unpreparedness of most of African Healthcare Systems. The lack of capacity of R&D in most African countries is also apparent except for Senegal and South Africa. The African Governments should now think outside the box and build the continent’s R&D capacity instead of relying on foreign vaccine development and treatments for diseases. The continent has smart and intelligent people who are well-trained and positioned to develop vaccines and drugs for diseases. All the African Researchers need is the enabling environment and funding.
We have successfully used the following combination to prevent and treat COVID-19 patients. Some of the patients tested positive and were in the isolation center when the preparations were given to them. The quarantined patients were all discharged and did not develop any symptoms of COVID-19. The prophylactic use of the preparations was also successful. The dosage and usage are:
- Black Caraway (Nigella sativa) Seed Oil 1 teaspoonful 3 times daily (immunity booster, Anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities). We have determined the safety level of Black seed oil at this dose level and is very safe.
- Vitamin D3 1000 IU daily (Immunity booster, anti-inflammatory and prevents clot formation).
- Aspirin 75 (UK brand) or 81 (US brand) mg daily (prevents clot formation). Aspirin at this dose level selectively blocks the formation of thromboxane A2 in platelets without affecting the production of prostacyclin by the endothelium. This selective inhibitory property of low dose aspirin prevents platelets from aggregation and sticking together to form thrombus, which is recently found in COVID-19 Patient’s.
The three preparations were given for 10-14 days for treatment of COVID-19. On a personal note, I have been taking Vitamin D3 and aspirin 81 mg for the past 10 years to boost my immune system and prevent thrombus formation.
The study we have carried out involved in both prevention and treatment has a sample size of 30. There is the need to increase the sample size. It is now up to the Ministry of Health and NAFDAC to finance and carry out multi-centre Clinical Trials involving thousands of COVID-19 patients for this treatment regimen.
May mankind be saved from this terrible pandemic. Ameen
Professor Isa Marte Hussaini, FAAS, FAS, FNAPharm, FPSN