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Innate Immunity: The Key To The End of The Pandemic?

Here's how innate immunity could put an end to the pandemic

Here's how innate immunity could put an end to the pandemic

3D model of the coronavirus

Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez

 

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has marked an important milestone in the history of humanity, because, despite the fact that millions of lives have been lost, this event has been fundamental for various advances of the scientific community in matters of public health.

Now, although today the panorama is different from what we had initially thanks to vaccines, it is also true that, through their genomic mutations, The virus itself has mitigated its impact on populations. This can be verified with the arrival of Omicron, which turned out to be more contagious but less lethal to humans.

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On the other hand, the multiple studies that have been done on COVID-19 have been essential to understand its behavior and the way in which the human body responds to it. To account for one of these important advances, the Humanitas Institute and the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, through international research, discovered that there is innate immunity to virus and it would be something essential that has been present in some people since their first day of life

What is innate immunity?

This immunity could be called “the first line of defense against viruses and bacteria”. It is also called non-specific immunity and is made up of a system of antibodies that are obtained from the day of birth. Its main function is to attack different external malignant organisms and likewise, develop a direct response, preparing the body for a more forceful response. 

However, the molecules that make it up (known as MBL) are capable of binding to the virus protein and blocking them immediately. It is presumed that this could be the reason why many people who have been exposed to the virus have never been infected.

Why continue to vaccinate if innate immunity exists?

This is easy to explain. What the finding proves is that there are people who do not test positive despite having been exposed to the infection.

However, populations at risk continue to exist and for this reason, It is difficult to know who will and who will not be able to develop this reinforcement in the immune system. Therefore, vaccination will continue to be essential because it is a guarantee for the production of defenses.

What can we do with this information?

From the point of view of experts, Omicron has been a great relief for the pandemic. Although it has turned out to be more transmissible, its symptoms are milder. 

There are no conclusive data on the influence of this variant on immunity. Meanwhile, a new stage of the virus is expected. So, we would no longer speak of a pandemic but rather of an endemic, and it would simply be the permanence of the virus in populations with a relatively low spread and impact. But the virus would continue to exist and generate health problems, but also social, political, and economic ones.

This is how COVID-19 will become a typical illness like the flu or the common cold. Ending the current restrictions, but not the disease itself. It should be borne in mind that it could also be compared with more serious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.