American University of Nigeria (AUN) Biomedical Science Major, Oluwadamilola Aiyewumi, and Professor of Biology, Dr. Malachy Ifeanyi Okeke have co-authored a peer-reviewed paper on COVID-19 infodemics in Nigeria.
The article is published in the Journal of Global Health (five-year Journal Citation Impact factor 4.151). Aiyewunmi reviewed literature, compiled data, and wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. While Dr. Okeke conceived, designed the study, and revised the initial manuscript draft.
The authors posit that the myth of Nigerian immunity to COVID-19 stems from the mistaken belief that people of African descent possess an innate or adaptive protective immune response to SARS-CoV-2 which has been circulated amongst a myriad of black communities across borders. This misconception drives public rejection, indifference, or non-compliance to COVID-19 mitigation measures on social distancing, face masks, and hand washing.
Aiyewunmi and Dr. Okeke propose curtailing the tide of infodemics by public enlightenment and education. They believe this is as important as breaking virus transmission and spread in the fight against this global pandemic. According to them, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control must play a leading role by controlling social media messaging and monitoring information released by state and non-state actors, and responding in real-time to any misleading information.
Dr. Okeke and Aiyewunmi have been studying scientific uncertainty pertaining to the virus infection biology and pathophysiology with hopes that scientifically valid information will counter armchair conjectures. Both Professor and scholar are residents of AUN’s Natural and Environmental Sciences program which provides an advanced understanding of the natural environment through interdisciplinary scientific education and research. This includes an advanced understanding of virology, bioinformatics, biomedical sciences, biostatistics, and public health.
For further information on the peer-reviewed article, please visit the link below.
By Office of Communications