- 6 Mar 2003
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This whole article about the Russian flu is really interesting but this last bit could be the missing puzzle piece that explains this mystery.I think that the sense of duty to conform to public health measures may have reduced the number of cases but doesn't explain the relatively low death rate in Japan.
Japan has the 11th largest population among the countries of the world and at the moment the 19th largest number of detected cases, which is a moderately good performance, although less impressive considering the limited amount of testing (less than 0.3 tests per person compared with as many as 21 in Denmark!).
Most of the countries in eastern Asia have had low death rates per population, which suggests that some genetic factor is also involved.
Convinced that coronaviruses have probably played a critical role in previous epidemics, a team of researchers form Arizona and Australia parsed the human genome for evidence.
About 20,000 years ago, a coronavirus epidemic left an imprint on the DNA of people living today. The outbreak interacted with human genes in East Asia and left behind a calling card: antiviral modifications in at least 10 different human genes.
The gene fortification only occurred in an East Asian population and probably required a lot of deaths for the human genome to respond with these modifications.
The ‘dreaded disease’ that claimed 1.5 million looks a lot like COVID-19, including the long-term threat posed by ‘viral promiscuity.’