Immunity- a work in progress
Your writing is relevant when you write relevant topics and what better than about the corona virus-dubbed COVID-19. I do not want to bore you with statistics about death count, number of people infected or promise of a vaccine. Let us take an approach about immunity and how best we can bolster against this one and many more to come. This is not a scientific article but a logical one or attempt at it.
Human beings like all other animals are prone to infections.These infections come via bacteria,virus which are common pathogens infecting us since our birth. We do not have much accounts about how pre-historic people fought against, many conveniently draw and argue that cave men ate well, ran well, so he lived well.
With no statistics or figure to back up this is just wishful thinking. My grandfather had 4 kids, one of whom was deceased at birth.My father had 2 kids, both of whom are healthy. It is just one family and unfair to draw parallels. Number of kids during old times was high due to infant mortality as well as people did not have any other entertainment. Millions died in bubonic plague, and millions more due to small pox. Plague was caused by bacteria and caused millions in death in Europe, Asia and Africa. This happened during the 13th century, when human beings were more natural, had more physical activity, more natural world.
Most of the people immunity did not work against the deadly bacteria. It is estimated to have killed 30–60% of the population of Europe during the time. This plague also killed millions in India during its third version. Lack of hygiene and rats were responsible for the transmission. Why did it happen then? Did people did not have immunity, if yes why did it not work? Did it work because there was 50–60% of the population were alive. If alive did the catch the disease and become immune or did they get treated for the same. Or were they so immune that they did not catch the disease at all. Questions to ponder…
Rabies is a virus spread by saliva of dogs. Does our human body have immunity against it. NO. Did people die from it, yes always unless they were treated with injections. Either the dog should have been vaccinated for the virus or the human after the bite. Can we wait for our human body to develop immunity against this virus naturally, yes people without common sense do it, thankfully there are none for this virus now. People infected know the ramifications which includes people howling like a dog for days, and death soon after brain inflammation. Does one time anti rabies vaccine for human or dogs help for life time. No, pets need to be re-vaccinated periodically. Why? don’t we become immune for life forever, unfortunately no. All virus need to be treated like rabies and handled properly.
Polio is a virus which afflicted millions in India, and many babies were born cripple and suffered it through their life time. Now I do not see a kid or grown man with this condition. Why? — because it has been eradicated via constant government programs annually and education to people of its benefits. Kids were given until age 3, in local clinics, hospitals, railway stations, bus stands, cinema halls, villages, homes, so that not even a single eligible child is not missed.Hence the success. Polio was a virus, and we beat it to death via constant immunization.
Corona virus is different, it is a RNA virus and a new one at it. These RNA viruses constantly change their signature, making it tough to understand and treat them. Only if their map is known, can we plot our strategy and dose to kill it. DNA viruses are stable offering us a stable sequence to fight and inactivated virus acts as vaccine for us, hence boosting our immunity against future threats.
This virus was smart enough to jump from a bat to pangolin and then mutated enough to transmit to a human, and then again was smart enough to mutate for human to human transmission. Viruses are smart, they know they cannot live if they kill the host soon enough or large enough, they need us for their survival. This COVID-19 affects the lung, and recovered patients report reduced lung capacity. Already this virus has mutated into many strains every time during transmission making it difficult to contain, but it just might mutate into powerless strain, making the transmission slow and then die a lonely death as well.
Does our human body have natural immunity against it? I doubt it, since this body has never known this virus, because it did not exist until few months back. Our body never knew it, so it was not prepared for it. Does it act effectively against it, like a natural shield. We doubt, due to mortality rate, and the spread that is happening, we are not only immune against it, but weak enough to transmit it as well. Is it a powerful virus, yes and no, yes because it kills, no because it can easily be washed with a soap.
Our human body is a miracle but for it to ward off against all micro and macro threats would be stupidity. Modern science helps us in this regard. Combining both ancient and modern techniques for our survival and well-being would be our most intelligent decision. As Darwin, it is not the strongest or the most intelligent which survive but the one which is adaptable, this applies to both virus and human alike.Human being have triumphed against threats large, small or even microscopic and we will this time as well.
Hope is a powerful thing. Our medical fraternity are on the frontlines as always protecting us against this threat of humanity.