New ‘super mutant’ strains of Covid could emerge, government scientist warns
gthe genetic variations that protect people from malaria may also protect them against Covid-19, Italian researchers say, written Erica Di Blasi in Turin.
Researchers found that the incidence of Covid was much lower in areas of Italy that had suffered severely from malaria in the past and where people may have developed genetic immunity.
Southern regions, such as Sicily, as well as parts of the north such as the Po Delta, have traditionally been hotbeds of malaria.
In these areas, researchers have found much lower levels of Covid-19 infection. In the northern Lombardy region, for example, 8.1% of the population has contracted Covid, compared with just 4.4% of Sicilians, 3.4% of Sardinians and 3.3% of those in the southern region of Calabria.
At the turn of the last century, death rates from malaria were 73 per 100,000 inhabitants in Sardinia, 24 in Sicily and 32 in Calabria, while there were no deaths from the disease in Lombardy or in Piedmont, a neighboring region.
Antonio Amoroso, geneticist at the Molinette Hospital in Turin and at the University of Turin, and one of the researchers, said: “A very clear link was obtained: in the territories where deaths from malaria were more frequent at the start of the last century, Covid patients are less frequently registered today and vice versa. “