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'Special' Arab genes make Middle Easterners' lungs more immune to coronavirus, Jordanian study claims

Jordan went into lockdown to combat coronavirus [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 April, 2020

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A Jordanian study has claimed Arab genetics are more likely to beat the novel coronavirus.
A Jordanian research centre released a study which claims that Arabs are less likely to contract the novel coronavirus because their lungs are genetically 'superior'.

The Society of Genetic Engineers in Jordan published a report saying those of a Middle Eastern heritage are less likely to contract the deadly illness because they have a genetic variation that makes them more likely to fight off the disease.

In a statement written by the centre’s director Rami Fouda, he explained that the reason behind less Arab fatalities comes from the genetic makeup of Arabs, which he claims explains why there are significantly more coronavirus cases within Israel than the occupied West Bank.

“The theory can be proven based on the fact that the flu virus has been more fatal in East Asia and Europe than it has been in the Middle East,” he said.

“When looking at coronavirus statistics in Israel compared to the West Bank population, it’s clear that despite them living in the same geographic location, there is a difference. This is because those in the West Bank have Arab origins.”

Fouda said the immunity comes from the difference in the number of pulmonary receptors such as ACE-2 between those of Middle Eastern origin and those from East Asia or Europe. ACE-2 is considered the main gateway by which the coronavirus enters cells in the lungs.

"For every virus entering the pulmonary cells of a person of Arab Middle Eastern origin, 1000 viruses will enter the pulmonary cells of persons of East Asian or European origin, and thus the immune system will resist the lowest number of the virus associated with ease."

Jordan managed the coronavirus cases epidemic through notoriously strict measures, such as curfews and the deployment of its army to punish those violating lockdown.

Jordan has confirmed 425 positive cases of Covid-19 and 7 deaths.

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