Covid-19 cases are surging all around us, but all I can see is a season of most promising developments. Is it only me, or do you share my optimism? Whatever your answer right now, I hope that at the end of the few minutes you take to read this blog, your outlook would have changed.
The pandemic is a medical issue first, whatever be its economic repercussions. It needs to have a medical solution before the economic and social issues can be addressed in a lasting way. And this is where I see the promise of a new beginning.
The media, and maybe most of us, tend to think alike, or in other words, adhere to what is commonly accepted at the moment as wisdom. In recent days, I have, however, begun questioning in my mind the supposition that the human body doesn’t have an adequate immune response to Covid-19.
We all know that each virus causes the body to produce the antibody that neutralizes it, and which also has a kind of memory mechanism so that future infections are easily thwarted. But Covid-19 was said to be different. Even the World Health Organization had said something to this effect.
But today, I came upon my long-awaited answer from one of the topmost scientists in the thick of the international Covid-19 response. He is Sir John Bell, heading Oxford University’s vaccine initiative against Covid-19. A professor of medicine at Oxford, he had recently testified to a House of Commons Committee that many people already have some level of immunity against Covid-19 without ever getting infected by the SARS Cov2 virus behind the current pandemic.
What Sir John Bell says is this. Even infections with previous generations of Corona viruses are enough to prime our immune system with enough T-Cells to mount a basic defense if Covid-19 tries to infect us. And, remember, previous Corona viruses include some that cause even the common cold. It might be reassuring for you to keep in mind that Corona viruses and Rhinoviruses are the two main families of viruses causing the common cold.
Sir John says the presence of T-Cells in many people is why many of us never catch Covid-19 even while living amidst the pandemic. But, if that is so, why do seniors who had been exposed to many cold infections develop a serious version of Covid-19? Because post-65, the T-Cells become fatigued and may not be effective in killing off Sars Cov2 virus.
But the ’65-condition’ need not be true either. Having researched a lot on immunity and longevity, and having written a new book, ‘The Making of a Superhuman’, which will be out soon, I don’t believe all those who are above age 65 have dysfunctional immune systems.
Different people of the same age have different biological age, or in other words, different health or fitness at the cellular level. That is why you hear about people who are above 80 or even 90 years of age surviving COVID and many below 60 succumbing to it.
‘The Making of a Superhuman’ covers many strategies to stay young biologically and to live a long life without any major diseases.
As you might already know, stem cells are those mother cells that can grow into all the other differentiated kinds of cells. And for many years now, hopes of regenerative medicine have revolved around stem cells, as they can be grown to replace damaged nerve cells or muscle cells.
But despite its immense potential, stem cell-based regenerative medicine hasn’t delivered big, due to quality issues with lab-developed stem cells. To overcome this, newer approaches like growing back adult cells into stem cells too have been tried, but with limited success.
But now, a research team at the Cell Division and Cancer Group of Spanish National Cancer Research Center has pioneered a groundbreaking yet simple way to develop high-quality stem cells both in the lab and in the body.
This is a major milestone in humanity’s quest to overcome various diseases that have plagued us for centuries. How can you and I not be inspired by this breakthrough?
Coming to the last health update of the day, a new study by Delhi IIT’s Kusuma School of Biological Sciences (KSBS) has found that Tea and the common Ayurvedic herb Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula) have antiviral capabilities to fight the Covid19.
Both these herbs are sources of Gallotannin (also called Tannic acid) which can inhibit a crucial enzyme, thus preventing viral replication in the body. Interestingly, both black tea and green tea have this virus-fighting molecule in abundance.
This development reveals the real potential of herbal medicines, especially Ayurveda, as renowned institutions come forward to check traditional medicine through scientific methods.
Tea and Haritaki now join several other Ayurvedic herbs like turmeric, neem, tulsi, ashwagandha, and black pepper, which were discovered recently as having potent COVID fighting properties, and on which I had reported already. And I believe we haven’t seen the end of this list yet.
I trust you feel more hopeful about the pandemic now.
Stay safe by staying healthy.
For more details on longevity and immunity, read my book, ‘The Making of a Superhuman’.