Sunday, February 09, 2020

Ethnic Differentiation of Airway Epithelia - I Hope Melanin is a Factor


NIH |  Studies of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) demonstrate that the respiratory tract is a major site of SARS-coronavirus (CoV) infection and disease morbidity. We studied host-pathogen interactions using native lung tissue and a model of well-differentiated cultures of primary human airway epithelia. Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptor for both the SARS-CoV and the related human respiratory coronavirus NL63, was expressed in human airway epithelia as well as lung parenchyma. As assessed by immunofluorescence staining and membrane biotinylation, ACE2 protein was more abundantly expressed on the apical than the basolateral surface of polarized airway epithelia. Interestingly, ACE2 expression positively correlated with the differentiation state of epithelia. 

golemxiv |   Like every issue of consequence, in our Age of Incomprehension, opinion about the truth concerning the  Corona virus outbreak is divided.  Either China is taking all prudent steps, the virus, while transmissible, has a low mortality rate and the West, with its travel bans, is over-reacting in a vaguely racist manner, or China has the virus far from contained, we don’t know just how transmissible it is nor its mortality rate because the figures from China can’t be trusted and therefore travel bans are a wise precaution.

If travel bans to and from the infected parts of China turn out to have been justified then one country in particular may be worth watching, Ethiopia.  Ethiopia’s Bole International airport is the main African gateway to and from China. On average 1500 passengers per day arrive from China every day.  Ethiopia scans them all for symptoms which essentially means taking their temperature.
Many of those passengers then fly on to other parts of Africa where Chinese companies are doing business. These are 2018 figures courtesy of Brookings.

The three main areas of Chinese business in Africa are transport, which generally means building airports and railways, energy which means building power stations and grids and metals which means mines.

One of the airports the Chinese funded and built is Bole International Airport in Ethiopia.