Health experts have dismissed the notion that Nigerians with the AA genotype are coming down with malaria because they are more prone to the health condition.
According to the experts, contrary to the notion making the round on social media that Nigerians with the AA genotype are coming down with sore throat, runny nose and malaria because of their genotype, patients with such symptoms should be checked because they might have contracted the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
A genotype is the genetic makeup of an individual inherited from parents. It is mainly divided into four categories namely AA, AS, SS and AC (which is uncommon), with the last two being described as abnormal genotypes or sickle cells.
The researchers’ call is a reaction to recent contentious debates on online platforms on the link between the AA genotype and malaria infection.
In one of the posts, a certain Blessing Aliemhe disclosed that she and her husband have been repeatedly battling malaria.
“Imagine having two AA in the house. Come see as malaria medicine dey fly up and down. Most people with the AA genotype are prone to malaria in this weather. Malaria has finished our money,” she lamented.
Her view was equally shared by Bamidele Azeez, a graduate of Maths, Bayero University, Kano who also claimed to be suffering the same fate.
“Right now I’m suffering from cold, catarrh, fever, malaria and other symptoms since harmattan started. They made us understand that we have the strongest blood, so strong that it can combat any form of sickness. But it seems we’ve been scammed,” he said.
Nigerians spreading the virus without knowing
Reacting swiftly to the speculation, Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Salako, stressed that what Nigerians are experiencing are most likely symptoms of Omicron, as a result of the fourth wave of COVID-19.
Salako further disclosed that, unlike the Delta variant, Omicron is a milder strain.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with having AA genotype as some people speculated. I am not completely ruling out the possibility but it has to be scientifically proven.
“You will see lots of infections and asymptomatic people around but you won’t see severe diseases or deaths. The fact is that some people have been vaccinated and there had been community infection. People have already come in contact with the virus and developed natural antibodies to fight it. I believe that is the reason why we haven’t seen many severe diseases as a result of the vaccine.
To continue reading this story, go to: https://healthwise.punchng.com
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]