Edge, R and Truscott, TG (2021) COVID-19 and the ethnicity link - is there a photochemical link? Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 20. pp. 183-188. ISSN 1474-905X

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A hypothesis is proposed to explain the increased detrimental effect of COVID-19 for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) men and women compared to Caucasian individuals. This is based on the differing photochemistry of phaeomelanin in fair skin and eumelanin in dark/black skin. It is suggested that a range of reactive oxygen species, including, singlet oxygen and the superoxide radical anion, derived via direct photolysis of phaeomelanin, may escape the melanocyte and cause subsequent damage to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is further suggested that (large) carbon and sulphur peroxy radicals, from oxygen addition to radicals formed by carbon–sulphur bond cleavage, may assist via damage to the cell membranes. It is also speculated that light absorption by phaeomelanin and the subsequent C-S bond cleavage, leads to release of pre-absorbed reactive oxygen species, such as singlet oxygen and free radicals, which may also contribute to an enhanced protective effect for fair-skinned people.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the final published version (version of record). It was first published online via Springer Nature at https://doi.org/10.1007/s43630-020-00004-8 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Sars-CoV-2, Phaeomelanin, Free radicals
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry > QD415 Biochemistry
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC705 Diseases of the respiratory system
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2021 11:10
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 11:15
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/9257

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