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Other than discussing the effect that COVID-19's "social distancing" is having on our daily lives, I wonder if the layman is allowed to try and connect the medical dots on this forum? Anyway; here goes:

I heard about specific antiviral medication used in Italy resulting in gross negative outcomes, due to a specific genetically inherited propensity towards anemia of specific Mediterranean peoples. Then I asked if there might be a connection with the death rate reported for New York City. Below is my attempt at connecting the dots:


This is informed speculation about why the death rate for COVID-19 has been so high in NYC and Italy:

1. The death rate in Italy may have something to do with the antiviral drugs used to treat people with inherited anemia. Supporting info appears below, as point #3.

2. Could the covid-19 death rate in NYC be related genetically to that seen in Italy? (Via anemia and other susceptibilities); because 58% of the population in NYC is of Italian descent:

https://www.wetheitalians.com/art-heritage-new-york/census-report-italian-americans-new-york-city-today

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Americans_in_New_York_City



3. A possible explanation for Italian covid-19 death rate: Treatment with Ribavirin of people with inherited anemia:

https://www.cardiosmart.org/Healthwise/d000/85/d00085

"Ribavirin may decrease the number of red blood cells in your body. This is called anemia and it can be life-threatening in people who have heart disease or circulation problems. "


"You should not take ribavirin if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
severe liver disease (especially cirrhosis);
autoimmune hepatitis;
a hemoglobin disorder such as anemia, thalassemia (Mediterranean anemia), or sickle-cell anemia;
if you are also taking didanosine (Videx); or
if you are pregnant woman, or a man whose female sexual partner is pregnant.
To make sure you can safely take ribavirin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

kidney or liver disease (other than hepatitis C);
hepatitis B infection;
a blood cell disorder such as hemolytic anemia (a lack of red blood cells);
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV or AIDS);
diabetes;
a pancreas disorder;
sarcoidosis;
breathing problems;
a thyroid disorder;
new or worsening eye problems (such as retinopathy);
a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or a heart attack;
a history of depression or suicide attempt;
a history of a liver, kidney, or other organ transplant; or
if you have ever received treatment for hepatitis C that did not work well."



Ribavirin used to treat COVID-19:

https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/acute-hospitals-division/drugs-management-programme/guidelines/specific-antiviral-therapy-in-the-clinical-management-of-acute-respiratory-infection-with-sars-cov-2-covid-19.pdf

https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/analysis/coronavirus-mers-cov-drugs/

https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/respiratorysyncytialvirus/factsheet/


G6PD and Thalassemia anemia:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23944358
 

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Discussion Starter #2
For clarification, what I am suggesting is that genetics makes certain people of Mediterranean descent susceptible to haemolysis when exposed to certain chemicals. Some of these chemicals are medicines in common use.

Interestingly, these people are immune to malaria, precisely because their red blood cells are so fragile. Too fragile to support crucial steps in the life cycle of the malaria parasite.

These genetically fragile people, given antiviral drugs were obviously ill, else they would not have contact with medical practitioners. So, it is not the illness that predisposes them to a poor outcome when treated with certain drugs, but their genetics.

This is my understanding, as a non-MD practitioner of simple logic. I would like the experts to take a look and quietly make better decisions; if there are any.

I am not for or against any particular treatment; beyond it being effective, and following the "first do no harm" principle. The latter acts with knowledge of not just drug/drug interactions, but drug/genetics interactions.
 

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Yea, but American's of Italian decent typically use a lot of Garlic in their food, so that should balance things out :). (You know, it enhances the immune system at a minimum and kills Vampires as a maximum).

On a more serious note, although such differences in genetics certainly can make a difference, I would say the more likely reason's are the following:

1) Older Demographic in Italy then US.
2) They smoke a lot more than US. Smokers are one of the top group who are most vulnerable to CV death.
3) They congregate, hug and kiss more than US.
4) Their medical establishment likely isn't as good as the US.

As far as NYC, I'm not sure American's of Italian decent are dying at a disproportional rate vs their % of the population. Every time I turn on cable they usually talk about those in Jewish American's in Nursing homes dying.

You need to find a demographic breakdown of the CV deaths in NYC and see if there is a disproportional representation of I-A's to start to prove your case that it is something genetic, vs something cultural (like I hypothesis about the Italians in Italy).
 

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You need to find a demographic breakdown of the CV deaths in NYC and see if there is a disproportional representation of I-A's to start to prove your case that it is something genetic, vs something cultural (like I hypothesis about the Italians in Italy).
It seems the greater NYC has only 1.3 million people of Italian descent, out of 8.4 million people. As in only 15.5 %. Even so, your question is spot on.
 

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Careful, "kitchen table" science is frowned upon here...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Careful, "kitchen table" science is frowned upon here...
If this thread is inappropriate, harmful or pointless, click the "report" button and ask that it be locked or deleted.
 

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If this thread is inappropriate, harmful or pointless, click the "report" button and ask that it be locked or deleted.
Sarcasm, my friend....
 

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I'm going to vote "yes" for the hugging and kissing of Italian women. I'll take my chances.
+1911 for Italian women.:D. And appreciation and best wishes for all Italians. I've known many really fine persons of Italian descent.

Now, about that Ferrari.:D
 

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I'm going to vote "yes" for the hugging and kissing of Italian women. I'll take my chances.
Yeah, that unibrow caused by high a hormone count is a good indicator of a high sex drive. Seriously.
 

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I honestly think New York's problems can be traced to population density rather than ethnic backgrounds. Unless someone is a first generation immigrant, I don't see one ethnicity being anymore at risk than another in the event of a pandemic. I'm not a scientist by any means, so take this post with a grain of salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It could just be the degree to which public transport is used...
 

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Re Italy. Low birth rate and an older population with fewer workers. Fashion industry and large fashion houses now owned by the Chinese with 100,000 Chinese nationals working in northern Italy. That's a lot of workers flying from China to Italy. That's the story I heard explaining why Italy was hit so hard. Also heard life style choices, smoking, made a difference. But the OPs explanation is pretty slick too.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
NYC may be another fashion hub?
 

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I have read articles that say researchers have determined people with type A blood are more likely to get COVID-19 than those with type O. I haven't seen any info on Italian descent or any other being more susceptible. But who knows what the scientist will learn about the disease.
 

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I honestly think New York's problems can be traced to population density rather than ethnic backgrounds. Unless someone is a first generation immigrant, I don't see one ethnicity being anymore at risk than another in the event of a pandemic.
Bingo. 60k people per km² is pretty tight... add being an international tourist and business destination, and NYC was thoroughly exposed before anyone realized it was an issue...

Genetics may play a role, but NYC is far too diverse for that to be a significant factor.
 
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