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Geographic components of SARS-CoV-2 expansion: a hypothesis

Authors
  • Joyce, Kelsey E.1
  • Weaver, Samuel R.1
  • Lucas, Samuel J. E.1
  • 1 University of Birmingham, Birmingham , (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Applied Physiology
Publisher
American Physiological Society
Publication Date
Jul 23, 2020
Volume
129
Issue
2
Pages
257–262
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00362.2020
PMID: 32702272
PMCID: PMC7414234
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Mini-Review
License
Unknown

Abstract

The emergence of COVID-19 infection (caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) in Wuhan, China in the latter part of 2019 has, within a relatively short time, led to a global pandemic. Amidst the initial spread of SARS-CoV-2 across Asia, an epidemiologic trend emerged in relation to high altitude (HA) populations. Compared with the rest of Asia, SARS-CoV-2 exhibited attenuated rates of expansion with limited COVID-19 infection severity along the Tibetan plateau. These characteristics were soon evident in additional HA regions across Bolivia, central Ecuador, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Sichuan province of mainland China. This mini-review presents a discussion surrounding attributes of the HA environment, aspects of HA physiology, as well as, genetic variations among HA populations which may provide clues for this pattern of SARS-CoV-2 expansion and COVID-19 infection severity. Explanations are provided in the hypothetical, albeit relevant historical evidence is provided to create a foundation for future research.

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