Editorial

Ignorance is harmful

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/14/2020 1:26:09 PM IST

 There has been a lot of uncertainty and confusion surrounding the spread, symptoms, and causes the disease, COVID-19 and that is so because not much information is known about the virus and more research will help evaluate whatever is known. The latest that has busted the myth that patients who recover from the virus are immune came from a study done recently by King’s College London. The study found that patients who recover from coronavirus infections may lose their immunity to re-infection within months. This significant finding was based on studies carried out on the levels of anti-bodies of 90 recovered virus patients. Blood tests showed that even individuals with only mild COVID-19 symptoms mounted some immune response to the virus. The research revealed 60% of the recovered patients showed potent viral response in the first few weeks after infection. However, after three months, it showed 16.7% of them had maintained high levels of COVID-19 neutralising antibodies. After 90 days, several patients had no detectable antibodies in their bloodstream. Antibodies, produced by cells act as guards by attacking and killing invading ‘alien’cells such as coronavirus. Antibodies are proteins programmed to target specific antigen the body is fighting. The findings of the King’s College London clearly suggest that immunity cannot be taken for granted and that such immunity may not last more than a few months. The findings of the research at King’s College London may also throw a spanner at the currently held belief that blood plasma from patients who recovered from COVID-19 can be used to treat the diseases. People who have recovered from COVID-19 develop natural defences to the disease in their blood (antibodies). Convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin have been used successfully to treat other respiratory viruses. These treatments (given by a drip or injection) are generally well-tolerated, but unwanted effects can occur. The desperation in finding a treatment for COVID-19 has pushed the theory of blood plasma treatment to the fore. However, evidence were very limited because there was only one randomised study and most studies did not use reliable methods to measure their results. In addition, participants received various treatments alongside convalescent plasma, and some had underlying health problems. There are as many beliefs about COVID-19 which have not been scientifically proven beyond doubt. Some of the myths involve the belief that people can contract COVID-19 from food items and packages .However, despite lack of evidence, the opinions of some ‘experts’ have only perpetrated this theory. There is also no evidence that the virus can spread through the water supply. In fact, the treatment in water facilities protects people from pathogens. The other is the unchallenged view that coronavirus can be transmitted from pets such as dogs and cats etc. The World Health Organization(WHO) acknowledged there are instances of animals and pets of COVID-19 patients becoming infected with the disease, but said pets cannot infect humans. Another popular theory is that higher temperatures and higher humidity can destroy the virus than in cooler or dryer environments. However, it’s not yet known whether weather and temperature affect the spread of COVID-19. Another theory is that the virus on shoes can transmit the disease. Though there is no evidence, yet precautionary measures should be taken, particularly in homes where infants and small children crawl or play on floors. Such myths on COVID-19 will remain based on limited knowledge.

 

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