Modeling immune system priming: the miracle that saved Sub-Sahara Africa from COVID-19
COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa has been a topic of interest since the onset of the pandemic, as the region faces unique challenges in responding to the virus. Although the number of reported cases and deaths in sub-Saharan Africa has been relatively low compared to other regions, it is unclear how much of this is due to low testing rates and reporting capacity. Moreover, the region’s high prevalence of infectious diseases and malnutrition may weaken the immune system and increase the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. Despite these challenges, it appears that individuals in sub-Saharan Africa have mounted robust immune responses to the virus, suggesting that factors such as prior exposure to similar viruses and genetic differences may have played a role in priming their immune response to COVID-19. Immune response priming, the process by which the immune system is prepared to respond to a future infection, can occur through various mechanisms, including natural infection or vaccination. Using mathematical modeling we hope to shed some light in the ongoing research that is needed to fully understand the immune response to COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa.