COVID-19 is a viral disease that has devastated the entire world in mere months. A year later today, the disease still shows no sign of slowing down. The symptoms of this virus can be easily passed off as a common flu. However, it has the ability to attack the respiratory system, which could ultimately lead to death.
While your immune system will not prevent you from contracting the disease, a strong immune system can be an essential tool in fighting off the effects of the disease.
Understanding the Immune System
Your immune system is often a frontliner in protecting your body against the many germs that cause diseases. However, it takes time for it to learn to recognise its enemy. In most cases, a disease-causing pathogen must be identified as a threat before it can be eliminated from the body.
Pathogens are microbes that can invade and cause disease in the body,whereas antigens are proteins found on the pathogen’s surface. Antibodies, on the other hand, are healthy proteins that can identify unique antigens and bind with them. When an antibody detects an invading pathogen, it attaches itself to the antigen, functioning as a beacon to warn the other elements of the immune system to attack the invader. The role of the immune system in disposing of invaders is not always foolproof. Nevertheless, those who have a robust and persistent immune system have a better chance of fighting off the invaders, including the dreaded virus that causes COVID-19.
It is therefore important to ensure that your immune system is able to function efficiently. Hence, make sure to keep your body’s soldiers fit and ready by living a healthy lifestyle.
The Role of Stem Cells
In a study, it was found out that the stem cells in our blood are able to act as another layer of defence if white blood cells are unable to get rid of the intruders in the body. In fact, stem cells were able to compensate for the disruptions in the immune system. This opens up a door of possibilities to combating other diseases.
As of the time of writing this article, there is still no cure for COVID-19; in fact severe cases of the disease could lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is associated with high mortality rates.
Nevertheless, stem cells look like a promising arsenal in the fight against the disease. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in particular are known for their immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, which could prove beneficial for ARDS patients. For COVID-19 patients with pneumonia, the ARDS is believed to be caused by cytokine and extensive inflammation. A preliminary study has shown that umbilical cord MSC treatment significantly decreased the inflammatory cytokines, and could lead to improved patient survival rate and recovery time.
However, this is just the starting point. Researchers across the globe continue to work around the clock to delve into the potentials of the MSCs in impeding the spread of the pandemic and reducing its fatalities.