This article provides you with answers to the biggest questions in immunology (with respect to COVID-19) today from the information available.
Your body mounts a remarkable defence system against coronaviruses or pathogens in pathogens in general, known as the immune response. This response to viral infection consists of an innate, or nonspecific component, and an adaptive, or specific defense.
Coronaviruses are not cellular which means they cannot survive outside of the host cell. They have protein coats on the outside wall. Those protein coats are there to get into your bloodstream.
The innate immunity is the first line of defence against pathogens. A key property of the innate immune system is the ability to recognize the virus as ‘foreign’. The cytokines detect something out of the ordinary in the bloodstream.
The corona viruses are trickier to distinguish due to their carbohydrate camouflage, they have sugars dot on the outside of the spike, just like sugars dot the outside of regular human cells.
Innate defence has a series of what are called pattern recognition receptors, or ways of recognizing a pathogen that is common to a broad group, and doesn’t depend on recognizing any individual one. Coronavirus proteins and nucleic acids are distinguished from our cellular counterparts by these receptors.
The adaptive response of the body to viruses includes the activation of ASC’s (Antibody secreting cells), Follicular helper T cells, CD4 CD8 positive T cells which are a bunch of cells that fight the coronavirus. What’s brilliant about an adaptive response is that it retains a memory of the pathogen. So the next time someone is exposed to this coronavirus, the immune system would be up and running quickly.
So, Corona viruses like any other virus find ways to mutate in order to find new ways of entering cells and there is a sharp need for the immune responses to work together in order to fight such a disease. Thus, it is crucial to build our immunity as much as possible.
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