Impact and Implications of COVID19/ Malaria co-infection
COVID-19 exhibits similarities in clinical presentation (fever, difficulty in breathing, fatigue, and headaches) and empirical treatment with malaria. Also, they share some pathophysiological characteristics, which supports the overlap in clinical presentations. It is postulated that COVID-19-related interference will lead to a significant increase in malaria-related morbidity. Since malaria is believed to alter the clinical picture of COVID-19 in developing countries, it is essential to investigate this interaction further and use the outcome to guide the diagnosis, treatment, and control of malaria and COVID 19 globally. Our proposed study will also attempt to unravel the relatively low fatality from COVID 19 in Africa.
We will investigate the influence of the human angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE 2) Genotype and Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency to COVID 19 susceptibility. The high frequency of the ACE II gene deletion among African ethnic groups with asymptomatic submicroscopic malarial infections could help resolve the link between malaria and COVID-19 susceptibility. Both G6PD deficiency and SARS-CoV-2 compromise the antioxidant system through the same pathways, indicating that the evolutionary antimalarial advantage of G6PD deficient persons can be a disadvantage in SARS-CoV-2 infection.