Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Immune System by Dr. Joseph Mercola for Mercola
The workings of the human immune system are fascinating and especially important during the coronavirus outbreak. While the immune system’s armamentarium of stem cells, helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells and other fighters is impressive, so is the armamentarium that a virus uses to invade cells and make them factories to replicate it.
A vivid and entertaining video, “The Amazing Immunology of our Viral Issue — and Herd Immunity Revelations!” describes the ongoing war between your immune system and an invading virus, such as COVID-19. It was recently created by Ivor Cummins, a chemical engineer who runs the health website “The Fat Emperor.”1 Creon Levit, chief scientist of Planet Labs, was the guest.
Levit, who has collaborated with top immunologists, is a professional applied physicist who previously served as an aerospace engineer at NASA for over 35 years.2 Planet Labs is a private satellite data company that operates over 300 imaging satellites in the Earth’s low orbit.3
In “The Amazing Immunology of our Viral Issue — and Herd Immunity Revelations!” Levit showcases in bright charts and visuals the many intricacies and cell signalings that enable the immune system to fight viruses like COVID-19 as well as how viruses like COVID-19 can fight back.
An especially burning question that Levit and Cummins address is if and how herd immunity can be achieved against COVID-19. They reach some surprising findings.
Antibody Testing Is Not Predictive for COVID-19
It is commonly believed that the only people who may have become immune to COVID-19 are those who show antibodies when they are tested, says Cummins, and a country’s “herd immunity” is often based on the results of such tests. For example, if 7% or 8% of a population have antibodies, it is assumed that a country has only that low percent of herd immunity. This is a misconception, say both men in the video.
The science suggests that people may have a significant amount of de facto or effective immunity without showing antibodies, they say. For example, some people, referred to as “denatured” or “barriered” cases, may have been exposed to the virus but, unlike those around them, did not become ill. According to Lev:4
“… because of these people’s either luck or their healthy metabolisms, the virus gets blocked through mucous membranes and other sorts of things and it never actually infects their cells … therefore they’re not even mounting an immune response and they could get challenged again and perhaps infected.
But, some number of people who get exposed don’t get the disease, not so much because of a classic immune response because it’s just blocked through their body membranes and sort of nonspecific processes.”
According to Cummins, if such people “get past” the virus “they’re not going to be a spreader … unless they get a huge viral load that’s much bigger” should the virus come along again. These people may not be contributors to herd immunity per se but they are “less susceptible” to getting the disease, clarifies Levit.5