In terms of the number of cases, southern Africa is the most affected region, followed by northern Africa and eastern Africa regions, while central Africa is the least affected region in the continent, according to the African health agency.
The Texas-based wound care nurse Linda Benskin has made the case that high levels of vitamin D – which is made mainly in the skin when it is exposed to UVB radiation in sunlight – is protecting Africans against Covid-19, and on those grounds more than 200 scientists and medics signed an open letter in December, urging governments to act to boost vitamin D levels in other populations. The World Health Organization (WHO) remains unconvinced, however, and has placed suggestions that vitamin D supplements effectively treat Covid-19 (it doesn’t mention prevention) on its “Mythbusters” page. There, the idea rubs shoulders with the theories that hot, humid climates and antimalarial drugs related to hydroxychloroquine are protective – both unsupported, according to the WHO.
Then there is the category of theory for which the jury is still out – that Africans’ genetic background may be playing a role, for example by influencing the prevalence of the ACE-2 receptor that the virus uses to break into human cells, or that African immune systems have been primed to fend off the virus, either by other kinds of vaccines or by high levels of infectionwith parasitic worms.