While critics of US President, Donald Trump continue to vilify his apparent choice of Chloroquine for use in treatment of the Covid-19 virus, evidence continue to vindicate the Man in the White House.
A study by Dr. Roy Spencer discovered that countries with high malaria cases either have no Covid-19 cases or the cases are very minimal with zero deaths.
According to the doctor, there is substantial evidence from several countries including China, South Korea and France that Choloroquine is an effective drug used in combating the effects of Covid-19.
Chloroquine is used to treat cases of Malaria which to a large extent does not exist in developed countries including the United States. Malaria is a disease generally attributed to developing countries as well as countries with a tropical climate as found in sub-Saharan Africa and South east Asia.
Doctor Spencer placed the basis of his argument on the recent Covid-19 cases as reported by the WHO as well as global Malaria data from 2017 gotten from the same source.
He thereafter calculated the COVID-19 incidence as the number per million of total population, while the malaria numbers were reported per 1,000 “population at risk”.
After sorting 234 countries by malaria incidence and computing the average incidence of malaria Vs the average incidence of Covid-19, he discovered that;
those countries with malaria have virtually no COVID-19 cases, and those countries with many COVID-19 cases have little to no malaria.
Upon observation one realises that this may be true as countries with a high rate of Covid-19 infection (France, Italy, UK, US, etc) have eradicated malaria for quite a while therefore the population has not developed resistance to the disease.
Perhaps this explains why the rate of infection in Africa and parts of Asia including Singapore is still pretty low.
Check out the average for the three country groupings in Dr. Spencer’s study below:
Top 40 Malaria countries:
212.24 malaria per thousand = 0.2 COVID-19 cases per million
Next 40 Malaria countries:
7.30 malaria per thousand = 10.1 COVID-19 cases per million
Remaining 154 (non-)Malaria countries:
0.00 malaria per thousand = 68.7 COVID-19 cases per million
These figures are based on the total number of Covid-19 cases tallied by the WHO as at March 17, 2020.
Several critics disputed the theory however. According to a comment by Andrew. S, the study should have compared the wintertime climate of two countries where the death rate from the Covid-19 virus has been highest – Italy and China
“The Po Valley of northern Italy, and Wuhan on the Yangtze river. Both places where cold air can stagnate under a temperature inversion in winter with reduced sunshine and very poor air quality. This leads to a lack of vitamin D that is important for the immune system, and reduced lung capacity from pollution.”
Another critic, Snape also disputed the study, pointing out that it the virus wasn’t spreading in African countries because of the youthful population.
“Not saying you are wrong, but keep in mind the youthfulness of the populations that have a malaria problem.
For example, the median age in Nigeria is 17.9 years. 18.8 years in the Congo”
Buttressing his study against the counter-arguements however, Dr. Spencer pointed out that malaria is found mostly in poor countries and is often underreported.
“An obvious confounding factor is the fact malaria is mostly in poor countries, and they probably have little testing and reporting of these cases.”
Another critic however also pointed out that since malaria occurs in mostly poor countries, the Covid-19 virus is not spreading quickly because of the poor transport infrastructure.
And most Malarial countries are poorly served with transport infrastructure, meaning that the virus is just taking longer to spread in such countries.”
This counter arguement however fizzled out when it was pointed out that Singapore was a rich country that had not eradicated Malaria. It has a developed transportation infrastructure too but it has very few Covid-19 cases and zero deaths so far.
“Right, that was my first thought too.
There is actually only one rich country in the malaria zone, and that is Singapore.
Singapore is one of the few countries with no deaths from Covid19, so that is an important evidence that supports the hypothesis.”