Is malaria immunity a possible protection against severe symptoms and outcomes of covid-19?

Verner N. Orish, Emily Boakye-Yiadom*, Evelyn K. Ansah, Robert K. Alhassan, Kwabena Duedu, Yaw A. Awuku, Seth Owusu-Agyei, John O. Gyapong

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (SciVal)


    Malaria-endemic areas of the world are noted for high morbidity and mortality from malaria. Also noted in these areas is the majority of persons in the population having acquired malaria immunity. Though this acquired malaria immunity does not prevent infection, it resists the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites, restricting disease to merely uncomplicated cases or asymptomatic infections. Does this acquired malaria immunity in endemic areas protect against other diseases, especially outbreak diseases like COVID-19? Does malaria activation of innate immunity resulting in trained or tolerance immunity contribute to protection against COVID-19? In an attempt to answer these questions, this review highlights the components of malaria and viral immunity and explores possible links with immunity against COVID-19. With malaria-endemic areas of the world having a fair share of cases of COVID-19, it is important to direct research in this area to evaluate and harness any benefits of acquired malaria immunity to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and any possible future outbreaks. FUNDING: None declared.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)56-63
    Number of pages8
    JournalGhana Medical Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - Jun 2021


    • Covid-19
    • Innate immunity
    • Interferon
    • Malaria immunity
    • Natural killer cells


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