File: A health worker checks the temperature of a traveller as part of the coronavirus screening procedure at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.

A clinical infectious disease specialist, Dr. Bertha Serwaa Aryee, has cautioned against the claim that the African gene is resistant to the deadly new coronavirus disease.

The Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Nebraska Medical Centre, USA, says the claim is false and has no scientific basis.

Her comments come after Ghana recorded its first two cases of the new coronavirus after a Norwegian and Ghanaian tested positive. The two individuals had arrived from Norway and Turkey respectively.

Some persons have held on to the claim that the genetic composition of Africans make them resist the COVID-19.

But speaking to Evans Mensah, host of ‘Ghana Connect’ on Joy FM Friday, March 13, 2020, Dr Aryee maintained, “There is absolutely no scientific foundation for that.”

“It’s false because [in Nigeria] the Italian man was able to transmit to another person who is Nigerian…and I know there’s a patient in Maryland who is Nigerian and I have a colleague who is taking care of somebody in the UK right now and that person is in isolation because he took care of a very, very ill man who is Nigerian with COVID-19.

“So it disabuses our mind of the fact that we think that Africans cannot have it,” she stated.

The expert warned further that the virus, which has caused a lot of pain and death in China and Europe, could take Africa by surprise if its people do not take seriously, the necessary precautions and advice from health professionals.

“It is this thought that brought Italy down on knees crying right now…In Italy, they also thought that it was a Chinese problem…and today they have 8,000 cases,” she was passionate.

According to her, countries such as China, Italy and the United States of America that have the best healthcare facilities, are struggling to contain the virus because they initially underestimated the devastating impact when they started recording cases.

 “These are sophisticated countries with very, very advanced hospitals so we in Ghana with our 10-ventilator managed treatment centres, we don’t just sweep this under the carpet [because] Africans do get COVID-19…”


Cases of the coronavirus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019 are being reported daily around the world.

Currently, more than 4,200 people have died globally from COVID-19.

Also, more than 118,000 infections have been confirmed in dozens of countries, according to the WHO.