The probes into the mysteries of corona virus read like a science fiction detective story. Masked scientists in white coats hunch over complicated instruments in air-tight labs, looking for clues how to destroy this unseen and deadly enemy. Their tireless efforts yield new findings every day.
However, many questions remain, and our inquisitive minds want to know.
Why do children fare better than adults when infected by the virus?
Because children’s innate immunity (first responder interferons and cytokines cells) is more robust and attack the invading viruses immediately and ferociously. Innate immune cells also call the slower-acting adaptive immune system to battle: The sharpshooter B-cells produce virus-destroying antibodies, and the “killer” T-cells destroy infected cells. These B-cells and T-cells also remember the virus and spring to action if or when re-infection occurs.
Why are some people more resistant to the virus than others?
We do not know exactly, and scientists have some clues, but much better understanding is needed:
- It depends on the dose of infection. If the person inhales massive amount of virus in a short time, then he or she will become sicker and faster than one who is exposed to lesser amount of virus. Therefore, it is important not to stay long in the virus-rich environment, such as closed spaces with lots of people. Face masks are not a total protection against infection but offer some protection – the better the mask, the more protection it offers.
- People with compromised immune system due to other illness or some treatments (i.e. chemotherapy, etc.) are more vulnerable to the virus.
- In some people the response of the adaptive immune system goes into an over-drive, causes inflammation and/or attacks healthy tissue.
- Some people may have T-cells that have been exposed to a similar coronavirus: the new coronavirus has cousins that cause about 30% of common colds. These “experienced” T-cells may spring to action as soon as the virus enters the body. It is important to get a flu shot every year there are over 200 flu-causing viruses and they mutate. You do not wat to get a flu on top of COVID infection. A flu shot contains a cocktail of antibodies against specific viruses.
- Some infected people are asymptomatic (they do not show any symptoms of disease) or pre-symptomatic (they do not have any symptoms yet) but both can spread the virus.
- The is anecdotal evidence that people with O type blood are less susceptible to development of COVID.
- There are over 300,000 viruses that infect mammals but only about 200 of them infect humans. Viruses and other micro-organisms are swept in small particles from soil and sea into the atmosphere and return to earth by rain, snow, or sandstorms.
- Viruses can not live by themselves and rely on a host cell to reproduce. Bacteria, on the other hand are single-celled organisms and can live and reproduce on their own. Antibiotics kill bacteria but do not kill viruses. Do not ask for or take antibiotics against flu or other viral disease.
- It is against the law to knowingly spread viruses or disease.
- Cold air makes it easier to get sick because cold air dries up the mucus membranes that protect you.
- Loss of taste and smell are early warning signs of COVID infection.
- There is no cure for the flue or other viruses. The best treatment is prevention: a flu shot, a mask, washing hands with soap and limit your exposure to the virus.
- The deadliest virus is the rabies virus. To date, only a handful of people survived rabies infection without a vaccine treatment.