We have been writing about how the innate and adaptive immune system works to protect us from viral attacks but have been puzzled why the number of Covid variants appears to be accelerating.
This post covers the latest research we have on why this virus is mutating so fast as well as options to consider to boost your defenses.
Like other viruses, the coronavirus collects mutations every time it replicates. The overwhelming majority of those genetic glitches are insignificant and transient. In most people, an active infection lasts only about a week, not long enough for the virus to acquire more than one noteworthy mutation if any.
A virus typically takes 4-9 days to amplify into a full blown infection. If the innate and adaptive immune system are strong, the immune system, upon detecting a foreign “thing” will release a flood of natural killer (NK) white blood cells which attempts to neutralize a foreign pathogen while in the blood stream. This release eradicates most bacterial and viral attacks but in the case of COVID we have to bring in additional help from the adaptive immune system.
If the adaptive immune system has seen the virus before (being infected or by vaccination), then it will follow the NK cell release with B and T-cells that are trained to hunt that specific pathogen. If it is new virus or significantly different strain, it takes several days to train the adaptive immune system on how to make new B and T cells that target the virus, then initiate the manufacture and release of these white blood cell types.
Fighting off the virus is a game of numbers and time. If you make more of the right B and T cells that are effective against that strain faster than the virus can multiply you win.
The UK variant B.1.1.7 acquired 23 mutations that were not associated with the original virus traced to Wuhan. Dr. Ravinda Gupta, a virologist at the University of Cambridge hypothesized that if the virus infected a person with a weak immune system that was unable to kill the virus outright but slowed its progress, this scenario would give the virus time to create more mutations and possibly emerge in a more infectious and dangerous form. He noted patients with autoimmune disorders can remain infected more than eight months,
The medical community recognized that vaccinating population segments characterized by weak immune systems first (seniors and chronic disease patients) not only would save lives but also reduce the risk of mutations that could cause more harm.
“People with compromised immune systems — such as cancer patients — should be among the first to be vaccinated”, said Dr. Adam Lauring, a virologist and infectious disease physician at the University of Michigan. “The faster that group is protected, the lower the risk that their bodies turn into incubators for the world’s next supercharged mutant.”
Unfortunately the sheer number of COVID infections combined with the rise populations with compromised immune systems is giving the virus ample time to mutate.
Vaccines are a fantastic weapon. Vaccines train the adaptive immune system on how to make the right B and T cells so that if you are infected, then you shorten the response time it takes to mount a counterattack precisely when the virus is just starting out and few in numbers.
The current advice from the medical community is do everything you can do to slow the spreading of the virus.
Paul Duprex, director of the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh said “ Let’s get the vaccines into people, let’s do good distancing, let’s do good masking, Every thing that we an do to stop the virus from spreading is really important."
Vaccines, masking, and social distancing, however, do nothing to increase your capacity of making B and T cells. You need a healthy thymus and healthy mitochondria to make enough power to quickly manufacture these cells in volume.
What are your options?
- Increase your intake of antioxidants.
Keep your thymus and mitochondria healthy by consuming antioxidants that mitigate the toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) that the mitochondria produce when making energy. The most powerful antioxidant is astaxanthin which is 5000X more potent than vitamin C. Get your daily does of astaxanthin by eating wild caught salmon or an egg from a barn yard chicken or take astaxanthin supplements to keep your thymus and mitochondria healthy. We offer astaxanthin only gelcaps or a complete immune booster with 8 micronutrients to power your immune system.
- Talk with your doctor about monoclonal antibodies.
If you become infected you are relying on to your adaptive immune system to produce enough B and T cells to put down the virus. Another tactic to fight the virus is monoclonal antibodies. These antibodies are produced externally using white blood cells to create the antibody that matches up with the antigen expressed by the virus. If a monoclonal antibody finds the virus circling in the bloodstream it binds with the virus effectively preventing it from infecting a healthy cell. They only work in the bloodstream however and unlike T- Cells do not attack infected cells.