No community has innate protection from Covid-19 including residents in high altitude: Researchers

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 05, 2020 Published on August 05, 2020

Feel reasons for lower number of infections in the hills could be low population density, low traffic, travel avoidance

The novel coronavirus has caused comparatively less ruckus in mountainous regions than in plains. However, according to a report published in the journal High Altitude Medicine & Biology, the current data is insufficient to arrive at the conclusion that higher altitude leads to fewer cases of the virus.

“The reported lower incidence of Covid-19 among high altitude residents is quite intriguing, but epidemiological observations presented so far from high altitude regions are preliminary,” stated Matiram Pun, University of Calgary; Erik Swenson, MD, University of Washington and Editor-in-Chief of High Altitude Medicine & Biology, and co-authors.

The authors also concluded in their study that there is currently little supporting evidence for any protective benefit of genetic or non-genomic adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia, or the experience of severe lack of oxygen due to change in altitude.

The researchers maintained: “We should avoid reaching the conclusion that any community has innate protection from Covid-19 in the absence of robust evidence.”

The researchers noted that the lower number of caseloads in high terrains is because the virus appeared later in the mountainous regions.

Other reasons may include low population density, low traffic, or travel avoidance (from low-altitude population centres to high-altitude communities), and remoteness of the region, which may have worked in favour of the people dwelling in high altitudes.

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Published on August 05, 2020
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