Despite the Toxic English Variant of the Corona virus there is relief and even euphoric hope in United Kingdom and USA as the long awaited vaccine against Covid-19 Virus has been rolled out. Yet not everyone is convinced. There are plenty of scare stories about the virus too including that Bill Gates has put a chip in it to control our minds.
Science has become too complex for the average person to differentiate between fact and fiction. Simply put, a vaccine, uses a neutered pathogen to provoke the immune system to be almost fully armed when the real one strikes.
Every nano second, the body is fighting ‘enemies of the body’. These invaders fail because of the incredible immune system of defence and offence. It is far more advanced than the American Army and possesses precision bombing that actually delivers precision targeting of enemy.
Antigen is material that invokes the body’s immune system to come charging at it. Most antigens are alien and from pathogens. Pathogens are nasty things that damage our body. They can be bacteria, fungi, protozoa, worms and not to forget the ubiquitous viruses. Let’s stick to viruses.
Unlike bacteria that fight straight, viruses are real insurgents. They invade cells and then use their material to survive and multiply, killing the cells in the process. The toxins produced can cause a lot more harm. The human defence mechanisms fight off these viruses in a number of ways. The body has more ranks of soldiers than the Chinese army.
There are macrophages, T-cells, B cells, helper T cells, T helper cells, memory T helper Cells, memory Killer T Cells, antibodies and so on, rank IDs that can fill this page, so we stop the list here. The body defence system is called the immune response. The immune system has a strong sense of nationalism and protects citizen cells.
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A virus is destroyed either when it is in the invaded cell or before it goes into cells. When it is in the cell, both cell and virus get destroyed. The invaded cells send SOS to the immune system.
The immune system has two main forms. The innate system and the acquired system. Innate comes with birth (ancestral). It is first responders and non-specific. The acquired is a learnt system specific to a particular bacteria, virus etc. The factory making them is the bone marrow, the spongy bit in bones. There are a number of very intricate satellite production and distribution systems, such as lymph nodes, more in number than the Mandis in Punjab and Haryana.
As part of the first responders, the patrol soldiers, called macrophages attack virus infested cells by engulfing them and disintegrating them. Macrophages can’t attack viruses directly as the latter are too wily. Macrophages present the viral antigens to T cells and B cells in the bone marrow. These are soldiers of the Acquired Immunity Battalion. Each T cell and B cell is engineered to ‘hate’ a particular bacterial or viral antigen and becomes a commando.
T cells work like macrophages but are specific, and attack cells that are infected by the virus that they don’t like. They go straight to cells invaded by their hated foe.
B cells produce small identifier darts called antibodies. Each B Cell produces an antibody that is targeted at only one viral or bacterial type. The dart antibody does a sort of leg clasp on the virus, latching on to it. The clasping bit and the part of the virus it latches are specific. So the specific antibody cant tackle other antigens. If the virus mutates a bit, it does not matter because the antibody may still have enough clasp points to latch on to. This action makes it difficult for the virus to get into a normal citizen cell. Macrophages and T Cells quickly come and gobble them both, destroying them.
Trouble is that this system takes a couple of weeks. Think of it as the factory needing to calibrate machines etc. By that time the virus has done enough damage to the body. The first responders (innate system) cannot hold back virus invasion for long. By the time the T cells and B cells are made, the Virus has scaled most walls in the body that it wants to. Most people survive but many die or sustain damage to internal organs.
Once infected the body’s immune system develops memory in the T and B memory cells. So when the virus attacks again, the T Cells and B cells are ready. The factory in the Bone Marrow has production machines on standby. They quickly attack the virus before it does damage. But can this be done even before the virus attacks first time and before it gets into the cells? That’s where vaccines comes.
To create memory for the specific virus, the virus itself or a form of it has to be introduced into the body so that memory T Cells and memory B cells with precision targeting can be ‘manufactured’. But that is also dangerous. What if the virus multiplies and gets out of control. Send for the white coated scientists.
Scientists work to produce attenuated form of the virus, a neutered version that cannot multiply. Or they take a part of the virus or a gene that is like the virus. The body immune system however destroys the attenuated virus or its version and memorises its structure. So when the real virus attacks, not only the first responders, but the precision commandos of the Acquired Immune Battalion are also ready.
Vaccines are not a treatment. Vaccines are a way of preparing the body for the first attack by the virus so that it destroys the virus before it overwhelms the body. Simple as that. Next time Covid-19 comes barging into the body, the B Cells and T Cells are already on stand by to pin it down.
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The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine uses a prepared gene that invokes antibody production against a spike protein of Covid-19 Virus. The virus uses this to break into cells. The antibody stops that.
It appears simple. But is very complicated. A lot of trials need to happen to ensure there are no immediate or long term side effects of the vaccine. But the rapid spread of Covid-19 virus has necessitated shortening the period of trials.
Vaccines or their makers and supporters have to fight off another attack. Disinformation!
The first one doing the rounds is that ‘the vaccine has corona virus’ shock horror! Of course it is coronavirus or something mimicking a genetic part of it in the vaccine. Despite Facebook, Snapchat and mobiles, there is no technology to take a picture of the virus and send it to the Bone marrow ‘factory’ manufacturing precision target T Cells and B Cells. Cells cant read jpeg etc.
The second alleged ‘devastating revelation’ is that there can be side effects and scientists are not telling us! Every medicine has some side effect. They are listed in the leaflet in the box. Just read it. No secret. Side effects are from immediate allergic reaction to effects of immune response such as headaches, itching, feeling unwell for a day or so. But for the vast majority they are no reactions or ones so minor, that the benefit of the vaccine outweigh the small side effects.
The third ‘alarming inside’ info doing the rounds better suits green men in mars territory. On social media they say ‘Did you know the virus was invented by Bill Gates and the Vaccine has a microchip to read your mind and everything’. Once a person is in this wacco stratosphere, it is best to wait for him/her to descend back to earth.
So in brief summary, a vaccine uses a neutered virus or a part of it or a gene similar to it and provokes the body’s immune system to first attack it and then develop memory to be able to tackle a real attack. Memory is not ever lasting. So it might take repeat provocative vaccines to maintain the defence system up to date.