How the coronavirus undermines our immune systems and how we might respond

 Usually when we are invaded by a virus what the body does is mobilise the two principal components of our immune apparatus namely the innate and adaptive immune systems to defeat and rid ourselves of this invader.  The innate immune system is primitive and unsophisticated and primed by an immune actor called interferon.  This switches on the initial immune response recruiting a number of rather elemental immune cells which commence antiviral combat.  But this is not enough to eliminate the viral threat.  What is needed is for the adaptive immune response to go into action which will then organise a whole army of competent immune cells specifically trained to terminate infiltrating viruses.  The adaptive immune system is far more sophisticated and complex and while it’s response to an enemy virus is more targeted its behaviour is also more robust and fraught, sometimes overzealous and destructive.  When it goes array it is this part of the immune system which can damage the very cells that it is supposed to protect leading to auto-immune diseases when the adaptive immune system cannabilises our own tissue.

Usually viruses go into preservation mode by attempting to disarm both parts of the immune system.  Not the coronavirus, it only sets about undermining innate immunity allowing the adaptive immune system to run amok often leading to what is known as the ‘cytokine storm’ whereby an overreactive immune system unleashes a flurry of activity which can damage and ultimately destroy us.  What we need to do is activate interferon which in turn ignites innate immunity before the coronavirus organizes to disable it.  Zinc, vitamin C and melatonin the hormone we produce when we go to bed early and enjoy adequate sleep naturally augment interferon.  Vitamin D obtained through adequate sunlight is an immune system regulator preventing the adaptive immune system from going into overdrive.  Then there’s ‘Immune Apocalypse’ with a host of strategies for ramping up our immune capabilities.

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