The undulated hills and valleys, the virgin forests, the cascading waterfalls, the crystal clear rivers, the lush green tea gardens, the mystic nature, the wildlife and varied, flora and fauna!
People of the Northeast have always cherished being Mother Nature's favorite. Now they have got another reason to boast of, that's perhaps the people here are more immune to the COVID-19 virus.
The seven states in the Northeast, with 8% of India's land size and 3.6% of the total population, with the rate of local transmission being extremely low, prompting health authorities in the region to be convinced by this fact.
According to the health authorities, research is required to study the low number of local cases as they're amazed at the higher immunity of these people. "We cannot say we (people in the Northeast) are immune to this disease (COVID-19). But obviously, the picture says that the number of cases in the Northeast is less than in other states. If there is anything that way, it has to be studied. We need more data for the study," says a health official.
The health officials are coming up with theories to support these facts:
Firstly, people of theNortheast had been suﬀering from malaria more than the rest of the population in India. According to a bulletin of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), "Though the population of the NE region is 3.7% of the Indian population, this region contributed 8 to 12% of malaria positives, 10 to 20% of infections and 13 to 41% of the deaths due to malaria."
The seven states in the Northeast, with 8% of India's land size and 3.6% of the total population, with the rate of local transmission being extremely low prompting health authorities in the region to be convinced by this fact.The high incidence of malaria and the excessive consumption of hydroxychloroquine could be the reason why people of the Northeast seem to be displaying higher immunity to COVID-19. In the Northeast, most doctors prescribe hydroxychloroquine for any fever.
Another logical approach is the frequency of haplotype, or a combination of mutations, varied between 33-100 percent across diﬀerent regions, including Northeast India (the Northeastern region with a 75-100 percent mutation in the gene has the highest frequency).
Researchers have found that the rs2285666-associated haplotype increases the ACE2 expression. This means the mutation reduces the susceptibility against coronavirus.
What this means is that if in a region more people with this haplotype will be present, the infectiousness of the virus would likely be 'lesser.'
Now, these intriguing facts are raising eyebrows and leaving us with questions like if it is a miracle, can some antibody develop by the bite of Anopheles mosquitoes? Or that genes could play an important role in the way the virus aﬀects the human body.
Keeping all these facts or theories apart we still can't relax and shed off the burden of this disastrous pandemic. Till the time this virus completely vanishes, stay low, wear a mask, and follow all the guidelines issued by health authorities.