African genomes carry more variations than European genomes because they have a longer evolutionary history, and thus they offer more insights into potential new therapeutic targets for detecting and treating rare diseases.
For millenniums, whenever humanity has faced that which it could not explain, we have invoked magic or witchcraft. If we could not explain it, it could only be supernatural phenomena, perhaps the wrath of unhappy gods or ancestors.
Such is the case with rare diseases in African society. Most people do not know what they are or how to explain the “strange” symptoms that occur in those affected by them. In fact, we simply do not talk about rare diseases in African society. At least, very few do. We need to change this.
Let’s start with the facts. Rare diseases have nothing to do with supernatural phenomena. A rare disease, by definition, is a condition that affects one person out of 20,000 people. They are called rare because they affect a small number of people.
However, because there are so many different rare diseases, more than 6,000 of them, collectively they affect between 3.5% and 5.9% of the world’s population. In Africa, they affect an estimated 50 million people. Hence, while rare in terms of individual prevalence, in Africa, one in 26 people is affected by a rare disease.
The vast majority of known rare diseases, an estimated…